California Levee System Vulnerable To Natural Disasters

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

By Doug Lazy on October 14, 2019

STOCKTON, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Night falls as traffic on Highway 4 passes the community of Discovery Bay, one of the residential islands surrounded by levees that hold back higher the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, on September 28, 2005 west of Stockton, California. Officials say that the dikes of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are in worse shape than those that broke and flooded New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. There is a two-in-three chance that a catastrophic earthquake or storm in the next 50 years will damage the levees enough to cause the kind destruction that engulfed New Orleans, according to experts. Such an event would affect the water supply that serves two-thirds of California and create a nightmare traffic jam on Highway 4, the two-lane road that would be the major evacuation route, if it is not damaged beyond usability. 1,600 miles of levees protect the delta?s islands, which lie well below sea-level, and most were built more than 100 years ago. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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