Poorly constructed levees cause rise in flood insurance coverage
Residents of Topeka, Kansas, could be paying more for their flood insurance policies due to poorly designed levees along the Kansas River, which may also be keeping many businesses from coming to the city. These levees were built between the 1950s and 1960s, when it was considered an adequate construction practice to include wooden parts into the levees themselves. Within a decade of their construction, these wooden parts began to rot due to their exposure to water, thus making the levees structurally unsound. Because of the potential threat that these levees could fail as the result of a major natural disaster, flood insurance prices throughout Topeka are rising rapidly.
Levees present significant threat in the event of a major natural disaster
City officials note that these levees are not guaranteed to fail in the event of a major natural disaster, but that the risk of failure rises exponentially every year that these levees are not upgraded. Most of the city’s homeowners and businesses receive their flood insurance coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program. While the federal program offers coverage at more affordable levels than the policies offered by private companies. Because of faulty levees, however, residents of Topeka are paying more for their flood insurance coverage than those in other parts of the state.
Improving levees may be a costly endeavor
According to an assessment of the levees conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2009, the cost of improving the levees will be $21 million. State officials suggest that the cost may be higher due to the rising prices of some construction materials. Improving the levees could have significant impacts on the flood insurance premiums that those in Topeka pay. Better levees would cause a drop in flood insurance prices, making this coverage more affordable to Topeka residents as well as any businesses that operate in the city.
Drought mitigates dangers associated with major floods
Kansas is currently experiencing a drought, which has been sparked by the lack of rainfall in 2012. While floods may not be considered a significant threat to the state at this time, Kansas has seen many natural disasters in the past that have caused widespread flooding. Even in the grip of drought, flood insurance coverage in Kansas continues to be expensive for consumers and businesses alike.