Engineering failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina

TitleEngineering failures exposed by Hurricane Katrina
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGriffis, F.. H.
Secondary TitleTechnology in society

This paper addresses the overall design of the engineering works that protect the City of New Orleans from major storm events. It briefly describes the history of the drainage of the city, and discusses the natural and engineered flood-protection structures and strategy for major hurricanes. This is followed by an analysis of the failures of the natural system, as well as failures of the levees, floodwalls, pumping stations, and the absence of flood gates on the canals. The paper concludes that the "design storm" specified by congressionally authorized projects deserves reconsideration, and that engineering design reviews should be reorganized and implemented.