NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Flooding in Tennessee is happening more frequently than ever before and in new locations, according to experts.
Through the Flood Mitigation Home Purchase Program, Metro Water Services (MWS) said it has purchased 442 homes to date and removed all risk of future flood losses by demolishing them and converting the properties to about 230 acres of open space.
A flooding expert and professor at Vanderbilt University, Janey Camp, said a warmer atmosphere combined with increased development and an aging infrastructure can’t keep up is turning once-rare disasters into common occurrences.
📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts →
“I think we need to kind of change our perspectives on how we do the engineering, design, and plan for flooding,” said Camp. “With the new infrastructure funding that’s coming down the line, we can think about those projects and not just build to code and regulations but build better.”
Along Richland Creek, an area hit hard in the catastrophic 2010 flood, MWS said the Metro Council has a partnership agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to potentially purchase 37 homes.
Camp said Metro’s Flood Mitigation Home Purchase Program has been successful, but could unintentionally break up the community’s social fabric.
“It’s saved millions of dollars in damages and potentially human lives, but not all communities can do that,” said Camp. “You may actually be removing people piecemeal and others stay and choose to stay when offered buyouts, but to what extent might that increase their vulnerability to other things like they’ve lost that community network, maybe their church support, if they’re elderly, or something like that?”
Camp said she is currently looking deeper into the impact the Home Purchase Program has on residents.
“I think we can all get behind resilience and wanting to see our communities be resilient to flooding and other hazards,” said Camp. “I’ll have to say Tennessee’s being pretty proactive and I’m happy to seeing that.”