Having survived Hurricane Harvey, I have more thoughts on risk management. I have said this before; even cities like the City of Houston must deal with risk management.
Houston has a history of floods. I am sure that they have come up with rainfall number to plan for. I don’t know what that number is, but let’s just say that they were likely short in their estimate…
Some risk areas from excessive rain include:
- Power outages
- Turning off the water due to potential contamination
- Flooded highways stopping traffic
- Flooded rivers that will flood houses
- Flooded rivers that can kill people
- Rescues by helicopter, boats, etc
- Inability to provide food and water to some/many
- Inability to get food and water to stores
- Inability to open stores
- Gasoline shortages
- Limited communications – cable outages, no phone service
I am sure this list is not complete, but you get the idea. When the City of Houston identifies their risks, the list must be exhaustive.
Each of these risks has a cost associated with it. Costs could be life, property, law suits, dollars, etc. I am sure that the city assesses these risks periodically. I am sure that it is safe to say that they never expected the rainfall totals that we received from hurricane Harvey.
Harvey should be the catalyst to re-assess the impact [risk] of heavy rains on the City of Houston to come up with a workable plan to mitigate the risk.
After identifying all of the risks and assessing the costs of each, the City of Houston will need to come up with a new plan for floods. Obviously, funding will be a component of the analysis.
This plan will not be easy to create even if politics doesn’t come into play. Hopefully, they have already started their assessment and they will come up with a good plan for the future.