Infrastructure asset managementGlobally, flooding is one of the most common and destructive natural perils causing billions annually in damages and great discomfort for the people that live in affected areas. In the US alone, Hurricane Katrina caused $81 billion in property damages, but it is estimated that the total economic impact in Louisiana and Mississippi may exceed $150 billion.

According to the 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)’s Report Card, America’s cumulative GPA for infrastructure is ‘D+’. This shows a clear and pressing need for the new US Government to deal with the challenge of aged and often ineffective civil infrastructures.

Flood protection infrastructure needs renovation, adaptation, and maintenance. Adapting to a changing risk of flooding presents a major policy challenge as the immediate upfront costs are high, and the benefits in terms of flood protection are uncertain, and possibly far off in the future.

Bax & Company partner Dr. Sebastiaan van Herk contributed to the special issue U.S. Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities published in the peer-reviewed international journal Public Works Management & Policy on future-proofing flood risk management.

Read the article: Future-proofing flood risk management.

In view of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, this publication comes at a very opportune moment.

It is estimated that 100,000 miles of levees can be found in the US, and a large fraction of them are aging. In many cases, the reliability of these levees is unknown and the country has yet to establish a National Levee Safety Program.

Our contribution sets the stage for an integrative, adaptive and synergistic framework, based on successful experiences. In this scientific paper, we propose the key guiding principles for future-proofing flood risk management approaches:

  • Monitor & Adapt,
  • Do More With Less,
  • Seize The Opportunity,
  • Design For Failure,
  • Accelerate Uptake Of New Technology And Stimulate Innovation
  • Work In Partnerships

These principles are not only scalable, but also transferrable and could be applied to US efforts at all levels of governance to successfully manage its future flood risk.


Bax & Company has been partnering for more than 10 years with leading partners in the field of infrastructure policy and management, including the Dutch, Belgium and Danish governments, research institutes, UNESCO-IHE and TU Delft among others, has been involved in large-scale projects such as Room-for-the-River and Delta Programme and has created and coordinated international R&D projects such as FAIR.

Flood risk management, climate change and future proofing infrastructure are global challenges; if you are interested in discussing opportunities for collaboration, please contact our partner Dr. Sebastiaan van Herk.

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