One of the hot button issues across the country, but especially in New England, right now is flood insurance. The federal program is deeply in debt, thanks to record payouts after devastating storms like Katrina and Sandy. Congress passed legislation in 2012 to eliminate many subsidies and raise rates, but the backlash has been severe and President Obama just signed new legislation that is designed to ease the pain for a while. However, if you live in a flood plain and subscribe to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your rates will be going up, if not now then shortly. This will certainly be painful for many homeowners, but in a way it’s necessary. There’s a case for not subsidizing the risk of living in a flood plain.
Another issue is that FEMA has redrawn the flood maps that determine who does and doesn’t live in a flood plain, and who is subject to the federal program’s constraints. The areas are getting larger. And with climate change, they may get larger still.
As we face this new reality, there are scenarios coming from the Chronofacts that show us options. Floating houses. Hover Homes. But there are also scenarios where the water wins. Bridge crossings. Broken technology.
Whatever our futures hold, we would be wise to remember the old saying: no matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water.