As seas rise, Charleston hopes to avert disaster
Then there’s the expansion and repair of deep underground tunnels that connect to downspouts that suck in stormwater and pumps that push it into the Ashley River. The expansion of the Medical District’s drainage tunnel to Ehrhardt Street is one such project that would reduce sitting water so that ambulances could pass easily. It comes with a price tag of $14 million.
These are just a few of the city’s flood mitigation plans.
These are huge, complex undertakings, but Morris is neither a developer nor an engineer. He’s an economist and strategist, bringing together local, state, and federal leaders to ensure Charleston doesn’t become the next New Orleans.
His answers to tough questions are not rooted in American politics; they were formed more than 4,000 miles away – in the Netherlands.
Decades ago, the Dutch invested $5 billion in building barriers, dams, levees, levees and two of the largest storm surge barriers in the world, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
But in the early 1990s, the ensuing floods hit the northwestern European country, and the Dutch realized they had to let the water in, that the walls were no solution. -all to the continuous rise of the North Sea.
No, they didn’t remove barriers, pumps and sand dunes.
Experts who spoke to Smithsonian Magazine said the Dutch had made room for water, creating parks and lakes to function as emergency reservoirs in the event of flooding.
What made the Dutch method of flood mitigation special, Morris said, was how quickly its national government, provinces and municipalities came together.
“That doesn’t happen here,” Morris said. “If it’s happening here, it’s by accident in some ways.”
The Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal for Charleston’s storm surge structure is currently in the hands of Congress.
If approved, it will enter the design phase.
As for Morris, the vastness to tackle what is considered a city in perdition does not intimidate him. The 62-year-old has been based in Charleston, a surprise for the mountain lover himself, for nearly a year.
And he has no intention of slowing down.
This story is distributed by content agency Tribune.