How "levee wars" are making floods worse

  • に公開 2018/08/06
  • Explained with a giant, scientific model.
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    Correction: At 4:27, we mistakenly wrote "Nijmegan" when it should be spelled "Nijmegen."
    In our latest Vox+ProPublica collaboration, we dive into how a structure that’s designed to protect us from floods, may actually be making them worse. High levees come at a high cost, often pushing water into communities that can’t afford the same protection. To demonstrate, we built a giant, scientific model of a river with levees - complete with adorable tiny houses.
    Be sure to check out ProPublica’s feature story here for more on America’s flood control problem: with the science explained here:
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    In our Vox+ProPublica collaboration, we create deep-dive, investigative video storytelling fueled by ProPublica's reporting. You can read the reporting at, and watch the rest of the series on JPclips at is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out
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コメント数 • 2 417

  • Vox
    Vox  6 ヶ月 前 +1144

    Correction: At 4:27 we show the city name as "Nijmegan". It should be "Nijmegen".

    • Gay Rice
      Gay Rice 29 日 前

      Youri Neeven its more triggering

    • Gay Rice
      Gay Rice 29 日 前

      Vox also note that you said holland instead of the netherlands.

    • [fricksquad] Random Entertainment
      [fricksquad] Random Entertainment 3 ヶ月 前

      Vox plantasmedisinales

    • Nash Nombre
      Nash Nombre 4 ヶ月 前

      +Martin Thanks for the correction

    • Martin
      Martin 4 ヶ月 前

      @Nash Nombr Nijmegen is in Gelderland, not Noord Brabant.

  • Rob
    Rob 日 前

    How dare they protect their homes because others are unable.

  • Mack Burwell
    Mack Burwell 11 日 前

    I used to live in St. Louis, and I remember horrible flooding sometime around 2007-2008. But my area didn't flood because we had a levee. Wow, do I feel guilty now.

  • Elijah Andrews
    Elijah Andrews 15 日 前

    I think flood plains work better.

  • Angela M
    Angela M 24 日 前

    There are SO many factors that go into flooding and it's not just levees. For the purposes of this video, they don't seem to fit closely with the topic, so I guess there wasn't any reason to cover them as well. Growing up in Houston, a city only averaging 105' above sea level (for right now...subsidence is a huge problem), squeezed between two rivers with bayous, retention ponds, and drainage ditches weaving through the entire city and surrounding areas, flooding is something we're all used to. The patterns of flooding have changed as well. Neighborhoods that were notorious for flooding are now catching a break while formerly dry areas are getting covered up with water. It's a really scary situation; one that inspired me to get watershed certification when I was in college so I could understand it better and work in a career field designed to work with Army Corps of Engineers to help solve the problem.

  • Ethan Offenbacher
    Ethan Offenbacher 24 日 前

    In the US the federal government provides flood insurance that encourages people to build in flood zones and on coasts. Billions in taxpayer money are spent on seawalls to protect vacation homes and levees that would never be built privately.

  • Dog alpha
    Dog alpha 25 日 前

    well tough, if you cant afford it.

  • valdzack91
    valdzack91 ヶ月 前

    my neighbour town was/is literally build next to the river and had therefore no space to build levees they thought of an alternative by building huge and a lot of underground water tanks, so every time when the river level rises dangerously close to the limit one or more of this tanks get opens and then again empty in the more drying time periods
    if that is really an alternative though i dont know since i believe that building a levee is cheaper than digging huge holes but at least every town around the river benefits from it which as an example of my hometown and alot of others, since that project was funded not only from one town but a lot of them like mention before every one wins in the end of the day by it

  • Nagtatago Nagtatago
    Nagtatago Nagtatago ヶ月 前

    vocal fry 😶

  • Too gay to function
    Too gay to function 2 ヶ月 前

    I suddenly have a strong desire to play cities skylines.

  • Joseph Brendel
    Joseph Brendel 2 ヶ月 前


  • Joseph Brendel
    Joseph Brendel 2 ヶ月 前


  • Michael Howard
    Michael Howard 2 ヶ月 前 +1

    Flooding used to be a problem in my hometown of Bridgend in Wales, but in the 50s they constructed a flood defense system that is still pretty effective to today. The idea behind it was for high, narrow channels along the river in towns to carry floodwater through towns as fast as possible using levees, and then have dedicated floodplains further downstream. Here, there are lots of low, flat parks that are designed to overflow and hold floodwaters at times of floods and it's worked really well. I think people forget that sometimes flooding is always going to happen, and you need to just accept that, but control it in a way that suits the community.

  • Robcop Westton
    Robcop Westton 2 ヶ月 前

    Dumb USA kids show Us in the UK can figure this out without a model or Scientist

  • Robcop Westton
    Robcop Westton 2 ヶ月 前 +1

    just movin the problem elsewhere, even th video on beaches doesn't address the fact of you can't just stop nature by putting sand back or building a wall the pressure or erosion just moves further around

  • Aaron W. Nichols
    Aaron W. Nichols 2 ヶ月 前

    [Insert generic Republican rhetoric, about poor people needing to work harder, climate change/global warming a hoax, how it's all the Democrats fault, and accuse Vox of being a mouthpiece for communist propaganda in a non-political video]

  • Jack'sVlogs
    Jack'sVlogs 2 ヶ月 前

    Wait, it’s not the levee’s fault for damages around the area, it’s the people who build on the lands next to the levees. If it’s a land that floods, don’t build on that land.

  • John von Shepard
    John von Shepard 2 ヶ月 前

    Just dig deeper river.

  • Enumpsty
    Enumpsty 2 ヶ月 前

    Just make a levee “Duchies”
    (I’’m Dutch BTW)

  • Bix Ouille
    Bix Ouille 2 ヶ月 前

    aaaah americans

  • DutchGirlGaming
    DutchGirlGaming 2 ヶ月 前

    "Then suddenly your hometown pops-up."

  • Julius Goze
    Julius Goze 2 ヶ月 前 +1

    Make a big pipe going to the lake or the ocean 👍.Under the river

  • Yin YuPeng
    Yin YuPeng 2 ヶ月 前

    Solution: Build dam-tall levees on both sides of all rivers, problem solved

  • Tenzing Sherpa
    Tenzing Sherpa 2 ヶ月 前

    It the people who are living in that area made a wrong decision in not lobbying to have a Levi.So please always think for future not for present. It not about poor or rich it’s about who you vote in office that flows the people problems and sorrow.Get someone who can fight for u not others.

  • vangrails
    vangrails 2 ヶ月 前

    They should just invent a way to make water more compressible. Problem solved!

  • Doctor Medkit
    Doctor Medkit 2 ヶ月 前

    This video is misleading, it's clearly painting this as economic injustice, but look at Valley Park. The houses protected by this levee have the siding falling off... the main resident is a Quickcrete plant.
    In fact, look at ZILLOW, the average home price in Eureka is $400,000 the average home price in Valley Park is $180,000. This is the rich residents of Eureka literally blaming the weather on their poor neighbors. This isn't investigative journalism, this is corrupt propaganda trying to argue to take protections away from poor residents by bulldozing their levee

  • Deborah Wagner
    Deborah Wagner 2 ヶ月 前

    Dutch are triggert!!!

  • Thomas Cremens
    Thomas Cremens 3 ヶ月 前

    811,910th view

  • Dakota Mullenix
    Dakota Mullenix 3 ヶ月 前

    So we either need equal size levees or no levies. Also this may not be perfect and not help poor community’s but what about raised house like they have on beaches ?

  • DB Pooper
    DB Pooper 3 ヶ月 前

    If you live in a flood plain, why wouldn't you build on stilts? More expensive, but cheaper than building twice (or more). Always wondered similarly for Tornado Alley; why not just build the whole house underground?

  • Richard
    Richard 3 ヶ月 前

    Maybe the federal government should stop subsidizing flood insurance. I think it encourages bad decisions and takes advantage of the taxpayer.
    It is a nice luxury to live by the water. However, it is not necessary to live and do business by river anymore.

  • Robert Soares Jr
    Robert Soares Jr 3 ヶ月 前

    And that my friend is the reason that USA holds the World! They're selfish people who will do everything for the money and don't care for the rest of the World! But look, while doing that some poors are going to be F* but the vast majority will stay happy with a simple job, food and good toys like the Breed and Circuses on the ancient rome. Europe was like that in the past, bus when they stoped f* the rest of the World, look to what Happened: Two World Wars, millions of immigrants and people playing Imagine while some terrorists are killing!!

  • montork
    montork 3 ヶ月 前

    classic american rich white classicism.

  • EpixDevo
    EpixDevo 3 ヶ月 前

    Type things our president should focus on why build a wall when we can stop flooding in small towns

  • zxcnjfrsfg
    zxcnjfrsfg 3 ヶ月 前

    So they arent makin it worse they are just benefitting the rich cause they have better taller levees?

  • Cookie Monster
    Cookie Monster 3 ヶ月 前

    This is an actual topic of discussion? Have you seen holland? The cause of flooding is heavy rainfall, not proactive flood control.

  • Some Person
    Some Person 3 ヶ月 前

    Sorry, but it's time to stop wasting taxpayer money on places that flood repetitively. They are obviously flood plains and shouldn't be lived on. Setback levees would work, but a lot of people will refuse to leave their homes. Insurance companies have stopped covering a lot of the closest homes...

  • P.R. Mathews
    P.R. Mathews 3 ヶ月 前

    You people’s flaming liberalism shows.........

  • noo way
    noo way 3 ヶ月 前

    How about keeping money hungry developers from building on flood plains? Then they sell the homes to a public who know nothing about spring floods. I have seen homes built right in the river channel, sold in the fall, and watched the house float by in the spring. What does the corp. say about that?

  • ajtxander
    ajtxander 4 ヶ月 前

    The solution for Fairbanks and North Pole, Alaska, was to build a flood channel. If the Chena river raises over a certain point, the flood channel gates are opened, diverting excess water into the flood channel. This doesn’t prevent flooding for some of the lower areas, but it mitigates excessive flooding.

  • Tristan Hoekema
    Tristan Hoekema 4 ヶ月 前

    Hurricane Katrina wouldn't have been such a big disaster of their levees had been properly built

  • Anonymous Gaming
    Anonymous Gaming 4 ヶ月 前

    Please make a video that every she says levee, the video gets faster...

  • Agent J
    Agent J 4 ヶ月 前

    The truly nonsensical is calling for everyone to be destroyed for fairness.

  • Izzy Petty
    Izzy Petty 4 ヶ月 前

    I've been looking through some of these comments and I'm dumb-founded by what people are saying about Valley Park, and its so called "racism." I have lived in Valley Park most of my life. Yes, there is more white people than other minorities, but that does mean you have any right to call our whole town racist. Sure, there might be a handful of bad apples, but that's what it's like everywhere. Everyone has different opinions, even if they are ignorant. Continuing, the word racist has a deep meaning and when it gets thrown around so easily by people who don't even know what they are talking about, the word starts to not be as meaningful. The town of Valley Park didn't build a levee to be racist, it was just because we didn't want flood water affecting our homes. So we built a levee to take the rain somewhere else. Simple as that. However, I understand that the rain is causing damage to other cities. As you can tell, we haven't found an idea to help neighboring towns. So before you complain or call Valley Park racist, maybe think of some ideas to help our flooding. My name is Izzy and thank you for listening to my TEDTalk.

  • Hikari Yuki
    Hikari Yuki 4 ヶ月 前

    I don’t blame the levy. I mean, it’s likely not helping. But flooding is the result of BUILDING HOUSES IN A FLOODPLAIN. -_- it’s the result of human stupidity.

  • John Ishmael
    John Ishmael 4 ヶ月 前

    *"Afford?"* America spends a SHITTON of money on their military but won't spend a dime in keeping their people dry? Is America retarded???

  • russchadwell
    russchadwell 4 ヶ月 前

    Seems like higher, faster water could also be a problem downstream too. For existing Levee systems, could overflow piping out and away from the local settlement be a consideration?

  • syr gulmatico
    syr gulmatico 4 ヶ月 前

    America needs help from the netherlands

  • Steve Higgins
    Steve Higgins 4 ヶ月 前

    Just get richer. If you can't and fall behind, then so be it. Capitalism

  • alex derpy racc
    alex derpy racc 4 ヶ月 前

    Ayyy the Netherlands

  • Patrick Read
    Patrick Read 4 ヶ月 前

    God is washing out there SIN, Eureka

  • Elliander Eldridge
    Elliander Eldridge 4 ヶ月 前

    A simpler solution would be to expand our national pumping capacity. If we could transport water just 100 miles from any location to any location there would be no floods or droughts anywhere.

  • Fringes
    Fringes 4 ヶ月 前

    Instead of building levees, divert the flow of the Mississippi river to a lest populated areas.

  • Truly Living
    Truly Living 4 ヶ月 前

    How about settling somewhere better ?

  • ZachTheCommie
    ZachTheCommie 4 ヶ月 前

    These comments are full of non-americans who think they're brilliant because they're pointing out what's wrong with the US. We're already fully aware of the problems. The powers that be simply don't want to fix them.

  • Ruben de vries
    Ruben de vries 4 ヶ月 前

    bouw een dijk

  • Howdy Justice
    Howdy Justice 4 ヶ月 前

    There are still only two genders though.

  • NoThisIsPratickStar
    NoThisIsPratickStar 4 ヶ月 前

    Are you really asking this question? Just put an ice cube in a cup of water, do you see it rise? Of coarse!

  • a d
    a d 4 ヶ月 前

    how dare you protect yourselves

  • Greed
    Greed 4 ヶ月 前

    I’m used to the Mississippi looking like a giant mud puddle it looks great there though

  • Sean Riley
    Sean Riley 4 ヶ月 前

    It sounds like the problem is the people getting flooded are living in a town that doesn’t believe in financing a good levee system. I bet the towns with big levees have a levee tax that goes toward maintenance of the levee. Anyone getting flooded out says it’s not fair because they can’t afford to pay the tax and continue to get flooded. Who’s fault is that? If you can’t handle the occasional hurricane, don’t live near a coastline. If you can’t handle the occasional flood, don’t live near a river.

  • adamklam1
    adamklam1 4 ヶ月 前

    so... how many times would it have to flood for the relief effort money/infrastructure rebuilding costs to outweigh just... moving all these people to higher ground?

  • Mickey
    Mickey 4 ヶ月 前

    Why does all this stuff always seem stupidly obvious? - also WHY ARENT WE JUST FOLLOWING HOLLAND? I think they've kinda had this figued out for a bit now.

  • athanos lee
    athanos lee 4 ヶ月 前


  • ZImpresive
    ZImpresive 4 ヶ月 前

    No regard for your neighbor, The American way.

  • Thrakerzad
    Thrakerzad 4 ヶ月 前

    Peasants be jelly they don't have levees

  • javy0820
    javy0820 4 ヶ月 前

    Or you can build canals and setup a proper drainage system (more drains, bigger pumps) instead of just relying on a levee

  • Jordan Turner
    Jordan Turner 4 ヶ月 前

    Surely it would push the problem downstream not up stream lol

  • Dis bitch empty ŸËËT


  • Adam Orick
    Adam Orick 4 ヶ月 前

    Towns hurt by leaves need to sue the building communities

  • Ramon Kook
    Ramon Kook 4 ヶ月 前

    Professional and original content. Very informative

  • Overworld Entertainment

    Why not make those sections of the river deeper? Surely itd be more cost effective long-term then building and maintaining levees? On average the Mississippi river is 50-100ft deep. For comparisom the Lincoln tunnel sits at 97ft deep. And your not building anything, just moving the material. Hell, use the material to build a levee

  • Nick Frizzell
    Nick Frizzell 4 ヶ月 前

    Here's an idea: DON'T LIVE THERE!

  • Justin Fay
    Justin Fay 4 ヶ月 前

    Whos the 12 year old narrorator ?

  • Collin Turner
    Collin Turner 4 ヶ月 前

    Are the towns with higher levees paying more taxes? I would imagine they are. But it's not one towns fault that another town can't afford something. Like seriously? If I want to live in a town that is safe i have to feel bad because someone else isn't safe? That's one reason people move, to be safe. People like living near water, it's not one person's fault for wanting to be safe while doing that.

  • Shiapra
    Shiapra 4 ヶ月 前

    no way rly? When water cant go to one area it flows to another??? Didn't know that...

  • panurge987
    panurge987 4 ヶ月 前

    It's interesting that Mark Twain wrote about this problem in "Life on the Mississippi" almost a century and a half ago.

  • Daniel Zacharias
    Daniel Zacharias 4 ヶ月 前

    One shouldn't be allowed to build permanent structures on a floodplain.

  • Dallascaper
    Dallascaper 4 ヶ月 前

    Dallas, TX built setback levees in the 1930's, and they have been expanding the system ever since. The Trinity river looks like little more than a ditch for much of the year, but when it floods, it resembles the Mississippi. The levees have been very effective for the city.

  • Alex Vargas
    Alex Vargas 4 ヶ月 前

    Well in Mexico people die in floods cuz it's basically a sink hole over there.

  • Shadi Nachat
    Shadi Nachat 4 ヶ月 前

    Just make the rivers deeper or donate the water to Africa 🤦 so selfish

  • Shadi Nachat
    Shadi Nachat 4 ヶ月 前

    Well they want to protect their homes, they should keep their levee

  • Vilu
    Vilu 4 ヶ月 前

    Levi XD

  • kemi oyedele
    kemi oyedele 4 ヶ月 前

    So does everybody think Americans are dumb egotistical jerks because if so wow

  • Cesar Garcia
    Cesar Garcia 4 ヶ月 前

    You said it in the first minute. Willing and able. Other towns aren't willing nor able.. their own cause.

  • OilMan 713
    OilMan 713 4 ヶ月 前

    You mean down stream?

  • bruno baumanis
    bruno baumanis 4 ヶ月 前

    If everyone makes a levee high enough, then there is really no risk of floods. It all goes to the ocean. Or am I wrong?

  • Rosalinda Lopez
    Rosalinda Lopez 5 ヶ月 前

    The music made my ears hurt..I had to stop watching..😭

  • Vlad Snape
    Vlad Snape 5 ヶ月 前

    Your conclusion and recommendation is strange. Why are you not advocating set-back levies, like you mentioned are built in the Netherlands? Surely that would be better than just keeping to lower levies.

  • Stevan Terzic
    Stevan Terzic 5 ヶ月 前 +1

    Please, don't read my username!

  • Y0ungContrarian
    Y0ungContrarian 5 ヶ月 前

    I love how Holland was mentioned in this video because it illustrates a stark difference between the two countries' political cultures. Holland is a largely progressive/democratically socialist society, arguably because they've always dealt with flooding and figure that a holistic solution is best. Whereas the American model of individualist market capitalism saves some communities but disadvantages others because there is no appreciation of a bigger picture.

  • Tree0f Life
    Tree0f Life 5 ヶ月 前

    That's what happens when you alter the ecosystem

  • Max Baxley
    Max Baxley 5 ヶ月 前

    humans have a tendency to protect themselves from danger and let everyone else die. personally i think this comes from how we evolved to accept natural selection and try to pass our own genes down and let people with weaker genes die off.

  • TheAserghui
    TheAserghui 5 ヶ月 前

    I went from "Yay! Eureka that's my home town!!" to "yeah, the levee issue sucks." Thanks for the coverage, the lack of future planning hurts any lever system.

  • ninjalemurdude
    ninjalemurdude 5 ヶ月 前

    Build flood channels? That's what they did where I live, and while we have a problem with occasional flash floods, they never last more than a few hours.

  • sharat vallurupalli
    sharat vallurupalli 5 ヶ月 前

    This is such an American approach to a problem

  • Sylvia Else
    Sylvia Else 5 ヶ月 前

    "more people had built alonside the rivier". There's the problem right there. The issue of flooding has been known for a long time. People should not be allowed to build in areas that will get flooded, and if they insist on doing so, they should not then be allowed to demand levees to protect them.

  • Nathan Frederickson
    Nathan Frederickson 5 ヶ月 前

    I live in Wildwood, Missouri, and grew up on the Meramac River and at the time of the 2015 flood, I went to Lafayette High School, and I volunteered at the Equine Assisted Therapy in the floodplain. I was one of the people that helped rebuild the Therapy Center after the flood. It was nuts, the High School had to get new gym floors, and the place was an absolute mess. My church set up a disaster relief center in the church basement. In 2017, when my brother was going to Eureka High School, he tried to bring the family canoe down to canoe over the high school parking lot for fun. Sadly, the national guard stopped him. In other words, its really cool to see Vox reporting in an issue near and dear to my heart. I have lots of memories, mostly good actually, of the Meramac river, and even the floods. these kinds of things have a way of bringing the community together.

  • rutger5000
    rutger5000 5 ヶ月 前

    Flood planes are the solutions for this. But you need a functional government for that.
    America is unique of being a first world economy with a 3rd world government.

  • Rythblaqk
    Rythblaqk 5 ヶ月 前

    Heres an idea...Don't build houses in a floodplain