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Nonstructural Flood Management: Building a Better Future

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This paper links land use/land development and its related impervious surfaces to the need for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's (MMSD) innovative nonstructural flood management projects, which complement more traditional structural projects. Without a nonstructural component to the overall flood management system, structural measures to manage flooding would necessarily be less effective.

MMSD is a governmental agency authorized to manage sewage and watercourses within a 420- square-mile service area with a population of over one million. The service area is drained by six watersheds, and includes over 100 miles of streams under MMSD discretionary jurisdiction, many of which have identified flooding and storm water drainage problems.

In addition to its typical sewerage district responsibilities, MMSD relieves significant flooding associated with one-percent probability floods by implementing structural flood management measures. Relief from flooding is felt immediately upon project completion. The longevity of that relief, however, is less certain in any such battle where man fights nature. Therefore, complementary nonstructural measures are an equally, if not more, important part of the overall planning effort. The link between the two types of flood management measures is critical to the long-term success of flood management activities undertaken throughout the world. The two types of projects are complementary and, together, comprise the MMSD's flood management system.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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