Dear friends and colleagues,
Today The Data Center is releasing the tenth in a series of reports we are calling The New Orleans Index at Ten Collection, highlighting changes post-Katrina. This report is contributed by David Johnson, Jordan Fischbach, and Kenneth Kuhn of the RAND Corporation.
The report is the first to quantify the accomplishments of the $14.5 billion investment to improve flood protection for much of metro New Orleans. According to new flood risk models, New Orleans’ current hurricane protection system protects against flooding from a 100-year storm – that is, a storm that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. However, a 500-year storm (Katrina was a 400-year storm) would lead to significant levee overtopping and extensive flooding in low-lying parts of the metro.
And environmental conditions that influence storm surge will change of the next 50 years. Models for environmental conditions in 2065 show that during a 100-year storm, significant portions of the metro would flood due to overtopping. And a 500-year storm in 2065 would be catastrophic.
After $14.5 billion in investment, significant risk reduction through meeting a 100-year standard has indeed been achieved. But that risk may increase in the future unless levees are maintained or further upgraded. To be sure, the current standard is likely worth upgrading in the near-term, given that a 500-year storm would inundate much of the metro and cause enormous economic damages.
This essay underscores the importance of an ongoing commitment to investments in flood risk reduction, like that envisioned in the state’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
To learn more, check out The New Orleans Index at Ten Collection - Current and Future Flood Risk in Greater New Orleans at:

Of course, many of the billions invested in flood protection were awarded to companies through construction and services contracts. Along with this essay, The Data Center is also releasing water management contract data associated with The Coastal Index 2015. This dataset includes information on companies that have won contracts from the CPRA and Army Corps, including dollars secured, geographies, number of employees, and other important metadata. 

Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center team 
Nihal Shrinath, Rebecca Osakwe, Caroline Heffernan, Vicki Mack, and Allison Plyer
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