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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Robert Hume

Water Resource Management in Flood-Prone Urban Areas

This report analyses the successes and failures of urban storm and flood
preparation and response efforts, specifically investigating whether hurricane-prone
US cities synthesise lessons from past storm events into current storm and
flood risk management policies. A review of global literature describes the
challenges of water resource management in flood-prone urban areas. Atlantic
hurricanes provide a unique and challenging opportunity to investigate storm
and flood risk management in those areas, although a host of engineering,
political, social, and environmental factors complicate this effort.


The body of the discussion extends hom analysis of three major hurricane
cases: Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), and Sandy (2012). Trends in storm preparation
and response across these cases provide insight into the larger US storm
preparation and flood management system. The d1aracterisation of that highle
vel political and soda! system suggests possible le verage points that could
create a more proactive storm and flood preparation system, but merits further
investigation into city-s pecific policies and the complex relationships between
public institutions at different levels of government.