Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flood Protection

Reading articles like this one reminds us of how important it is that government work well addressing the big things, and flooding certainly qualifies, but government doesn’t seem to be working too well at responding to it.

Let’s hope this series of meetings result in better coordination in handling the large issue of flood protection so important to the public’s safety.

Here is an excerpt.

Delta counties work on flood plan
Greg Kane Record Staff Writer Published Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006

ISLETON - A major flood or other disaster in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could expose a lack of planning and communication between different counties, state and federal agencies during evacuations and flood fights, regional emergency response officials said Monday.

The fragile system of dirt levees, waterways and islands meanders through parts of five counties, including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Contra Costa and Yolo. Each county generally has a hierarchy in place for local emergency response efforts, but officials say that coordination becomes more complicated when disasters reach across city and county lines.

Nearly two dozen emergency response and elected officials from the five Delta counties met Monday in Isleton to discuss how to better organize large-scale flood operations. The group hopes the meeting was a first step toward establishing a regional plan that would improve communication and establish authority during flood fights, evacuations and other large responses.

"Hopefully we'll end up with some kind of formal plan," said Ron Baldwin, San Joaquin County's emergency services director. "

The key will be the follow-up."

Officials at the meeting included: Baldwin and his emergency response counterparts in the four other Delta counties; elected officials, including Sacramento and West Sacramento Mayors Heather Fargo and Christopher Cabaldon; and members of the Delta Protection Commission, a state agency charged with preserving the 738,000-acre system.

One of the Delta's biggest challenges is that the sprawling system touches so many different counties that it's easy for agencies to fight over jurisdiction or fail to communicate when they could be making each other's jobs easier.