Engineers used “conservative” approach to build post-Katrina levees in New Orleans…

…and it apparently paid off (relatively speaking).  As the saying goes, we’re all conservative when it comes to things we know about.  So, instead of calculating for a 100 year storm, which was the standard, they took New Orleans’ rather unique vulnerability into account, doubled some crucial numbers and got the defenses designed and built to 200 year storm standards. Why? Because Army Corps of Engineers knew this was their shot to “do it right.”

“It was all done legitimately, rule-based, but it was done with a very conservative eye to uncertainty,” says [Don] Resio, (a technical supervisor in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). “We knew we were going above the limits that somebody might have thought we should…We were making the decisions so it wouldn’t come back to haunt us.


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