David Abele from the Boston Globe explained, "As sea levels rise and storms become more powerful as a result of climate change, flooding will pose a serious threat to nearly 4.3 million homes across the country by 2051. That could cause annual losses of more than $32 billion, a 61 percent increase from the estimated costs today, according to an analysis by First Street Foundation, a New York nonprofit research group that specializes in flood risk."
"In Massachusetts, the financial losses from flooding will probably rise to an estimated $316 million, a 36 percent increase from today, according to the report. The state now ranks sixth in terms of the number of residential properties — those with up to four units — likely to experience structural damage from flooding," wrote Abele. He went on to mention, "Last year, [the] report from First Street Foundation estimated that more than 336,000 properties in Massachusetts are at some risk of flooding, 65 percent more than existing flood maps indicate. That report said that Boston had more than 19,000 homes and businesses at risk of flooding, about 19 percent of existing properties."
With urban development and population density increasing along coastlines in Massachusetts, flood risks and subsequent financial impacts will likely escalate - suggesting the need for better flood management planning. Abele writes, "Environmental advocates said the report underscores the need to minimize flood risks, such as by protecting and restoring river floodplains and ensuring there are sufficient undeveloped areas to absorb stormwater."
Our Executive Director, Julia Blatt, told the Boston Globe: "The challenge in Massachusetts is that so much of our state is already developed, and those flood-prone areas often mean a nice river or ocean view [...] Whatever else we do, neither our government nor private insurers should be paying anyone to rebuild in a flood-prone area.”
Deb Markowitz, state director of the Nature Conservancy, said "The Commonwealth must take an all-hands-on-deck approach [...] There is nothing worse than throwing good money after bad. This report is a stark reminder that, unless we change the way we manage risk, we will keep paying to rebuild at-risk properties, over and over, ultimately bankrupting the systems that are there to help protect us.”
For the full story by David Abele and the Boston Globe, click here.