"Brutal" Projections for Ohio River Basin

Updated 1 year ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
"Brutal" Projections for Ohio River Basin

A new U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report anticipates a brutal future of flooding, droughts, power failures and drinking water shortages across the 13-state Ohio River basin in the decades ahead. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cincinnati Enquirer, and Louisville Courier Journal have examined impacts on their respective cities. Graphs generated from the Ohio River Basin Change Climate Study show that Huntington would fall into the same shaded areas as Cincinnati/Louisville. 

According to Cincinnati.com, changing climate through the 21st Century will lead to increases in extreme weather conditions such as flooding , drought, and power failures. But the most "disruptive" events at 20 years away. 

However,  Kathleen D. White, who oversaw the study's development for the Corps. of Engineers, believes that  "The changes are happening today. This isn't something that's just in the future."

For Cincinnati the projections are:

- Hotter. 12.3% increase from 55.5 (2020) to 62.3 (2099, similar to Atlanta)

- Higher water levels mean more flooding. 25 % through 2040

- Seasonal water fluctuations greater reducing river flow and bringing drier conditions.

- Sewsawing of river levels mean challenges with drinking water, sewage treatment and regional power.

Rich Cogan, executive director of the Ohio River Foundation (in Cincinnati) said the "extremely timely" report "should encourage our society to take today's environmental problems more seriously."

Projected water accumulation changes would equate to altering management of reservoirs, flood protection systems and power plants. As a result , reduction of water consumption is recommended and changing cities/suburbs to act like sponges not funnels. 

For Louisville, more potent storms are a flooding  risk for low lying cities such as there, as well as drinking water supplies and barge traffic due to reduced river volume in some spots.

Thomas Rockaway, a University of Louisville engineer professor , told the Courier Journal that the study reminds that "we live on a dynamic planet... and we have to adapt to those changes."

Gus Drum, a retired Corps. official from Huntington, was the study's lead planner.

For the Louisville story, https://www.courier-journal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2017/11/30/ohio-river-valley-climate-change-report/831135001

For Pittsburgh, http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2017/05/15/Climate-change-effects-Ohio-River-basin/stories/201705150013

The 300 page report is at: 

http://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Portals/38/docs/orba/USACE%20Ohio%20River%...

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