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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コメント数 • 2 351

  • Vox
    Vox  2 ヶ月 前 +1077

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

    • Nash Nombre
      Nash Nombre 28 日 前

      +Martin Thanks for the correction

    • Martin
      Martin 28 日 前

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

    • Triass777
      Triass777 28 日 前

      +IcyDragon68 they did the east coast is mostly protected by Dutch works

    • Nash Nombre
      Nash Nombre ヶ月 前

      Holland should be Netherlands to since Nijmegen isnt in Holland but in Brabant (province) Please do research before you use makes this is very unprofesional and ignorant.

  • ajtxander
    ajtxander 5 日 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 8 日 前

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

  • Anonymous Gaming
    Anonymous Gaming 9 日 前

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

  • John Gault
    John Gault 18 日 前

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

  • Izzy Petty
    Izzy Petty 20 日 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 24 日 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 24 日 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 25 日 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 25 日 前

    America needs help from the netherlands

  • Steve Higgins
    Steve Higgins 26 日 前

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

  • lorem dragon
    lorem dragon 26 日 前

    Ayyy the Netherlands

  • Patrick Read
    Patrick Read 26 日 前

    God is washing out there SIN, Eureka

  • Elliander Eldridge
    Elliander Eldridge 27 日 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 27 日 前

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

  • Truly Living
    Truly Living 27 日 前

    How about settling somewhere better ?

  • ZachTheCommie
    ZachTheCommie 27 日 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 27 日 前

    bouw een dijk

  • Howdy Justice
    Howdy Justice 27 日 前

    There are still only two genders though.

  • NoThisIsPratickStar
    NoThisIsPratickStar 27 日 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 28 日 前

    how dare you protect yourselves

  • Greed
    Greed 28 日 前

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

  • Sean Riley
    Sean Riley 28 日 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 28 日 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?

  • Michael n.
    Michael n. 28 日 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 28 日 前


  • ZImpresive
    ZImpresive 28 日 前

    No regard for your neighbor, The American way.

  • Thrakerzad
    Thrakerzad 28 日 前

    Peasants be jelly they don't have levees

  • javy0820
    javy0820 28 日 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 28 日 前

    Surely it would push the problem downstream not up stream lol

  • Dis bitch empty ŸËËT


  • Adam Orick
    Adam Orick 28 日 前

    Towns hurt by leaves need to sue the building communities

  • Ramon Kook
    Ramon Kook 28 日 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 28 日 前

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

  • Justin Fay
    Justin Fay 29 日 前

    Whos the 12 year old narrorator ?

  • Collin Turner
    Collin Turner 29 日 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 29 日 前

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

  • panurge987
    panurge987 29 日 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 29 日 前

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

  • Dallascaper
    Dallascaper 29 日 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 29 日 前

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

  • Shadi Nachat
    Shadi Nachat 29 日 前

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

  • Shadi Nachat
    Shadi Nachat 29 日 前

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

  • Vilu
    Vilu 29 日 前

    Levi XD

  • kemi oyedele
    kemi oyedele 29 日 前

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

  • Cesar Garcia
    Cesar Garcia 29 日 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 29 日 前

    You mean down stream?

  • bruno baumanis
    bruno baumanis 29 日 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 29 日 前

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

  • Vlad Snape
    Vlad Snape 29 日 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 ヶ月 前 +1

    Please, don't read my username!

  • Y0ungContrarian
    Y0ungContrarian 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 ヶ月 前

    That's what happens when you alter the ecosystem

  • Max Baxley
    Max Baxley 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 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 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.

  • popo
    popo ヶ月 前

    just make your house float.

  • sharat vallurupalli
    sharat vallurupalli ヶ月 前

    This is such an American approach to a problem

  • Sylvia Else
    Sylvia Else 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 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 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 ヶ月 前

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

  • Jonathan Sawyer
    Jonathan Sawyer ヶ月 前

    Never thought my hometown of fenton would make the news

  • Steven Zhu
    Steven Zhu ヶ月 前

    Root problem is: the government doesn't and probably won't pay for the levees and other effective solutions like in China.

  • Nash Nombre
    Nash Nombre ヶ月 前

    Holland isnt a country please stop you ignorant Americans

  • Martin
    Martin ヶ月 前

    they could make the river deeper........

    BLITZN00DLE ヶ月 前

    Meanwhile in America, our rivers have sewage in them.

  • Therockbrothersmc
    Therockbrothersmc ヶ月 前

    *laughs in Dutch*

  • hyou zan ren
    hyou zan ren ヶ月 前

    some people just cant learn! stop building on flood land!

  • AvangionQ
    AvangionQ ヶ月 前

    Two levees are needed: first by the river and a second further inland in case the one next to the river floods, but such doubles the cost of preventative measures.

  • patrick pickett
    patrick pickett ヶ月 前

    If you live on a floodplain flooding is part of life. Leeves only exacerbate the problem of flooding when they fail, often trapping flood water in. Historically building towns around rivers made sense, but not anymore.

  • MX127
    MX127 ヶ月 前

    Around here we call them dikes

  • Moe Moe
    Moe Moe ヶ月 前

    the Netherlands is like 12 feet underwater but you can't tell. if they can do it so can we by just asking how you guys do it.

  • Junjun
    Junjun ヶ月 前

    We dont have levee here in marshland borneo. But we have stilt house.

  • Stephen Jones
    Stephen Jones ヶ月 前

    I'm pretty sure you have confused up stream and down stream. upstream is the opposite direction of the flow of water.

  • Jody Bruchon
    Jody Bruchon ヶ月 前 +1

    If you'd make videos like this and stop making your incredibly stupid SJW videos like that "old film was totally racist you guys" then you'd be far better off.

  • Alex Waln
    Alex Waln ヶ月 前

    In my town the put up a wall and made the water pay for it. #MakeAmericaGreatAgainTheWaterIsPartOfMS13
    Jk, the water didn't pay for it. We did.

  • a64750
    a64750 ヶ月 前

    Folks will eventually move away

  • TheIceMan SP13
    TheIceMan SP13 ヶ月 前

    Louisiana native here, anyone who says "just follow the example of Netherlands and *random developed country* " is being extremely shortsighted in this issue. Land subsidence, more powerful and frequent storms, oil and gas companies, coastal erosion, low revenue to build major infrastructure projects, poor flood control management and numerous other factors can be attributed to large scale flooding here in Louisiana. Only creating setback levees or dikes is not going to solve the flood issue in Louisiana and I doubt any one infrastructure project would solve this issue anywhere else along the Mississippi floodplain. Not to mention the bureaucracy involved in getting these issues solved is either extremely corrupt, "The Great Flood of 1927," or extremely inefficient.

  • CraftAero
    CraftAero ヶ月 前

    "The Levee" in Don McLean's American Pie was a tavern.

  • Timothy Sutton
    Timothy Sutton ヶ月 前

    My city just sunk the rivers ahaha. Battle creek and Kalamazoo river

  • Jan C
    Jan C ヶ月 前

    share the suffering lol

  • NoneOfYour Beeswax
    NoneOfYour Beeswax ヶ月 前

    Greed. Riverside real estate is worth money. Higher levees just delay the inevitable and make the eventual floods even worse. But when greed turns a nation into climate change deniers what can you expect?

  • Josh Uniacke
    Josh Uniacke ヶ月 前

    Anything you can do Scandinavia can do better


    Bottom line, live on a hill or don’t be poor.
    Every major city before 1800 century was on a elevated ground. Check out Boston, major flood after winters and during summer ...
    even the Bible as some tips on to build a house on hills. Seriously...
    Natural disaster happens more often than we think.

  • OALM
    OALM ヶ月 前

    Narrated by a middle school class president?

  • King Ludwig
    King Ludwig ヶ月 前

    Apparently the town saved their money for the levee. Who knows what the other towns used their tax monies for.

  • LastFanStanding12
    LastFanStanding12 ヶ月 前

    Shoutout for Carmel, Indiana. Figures those dicks are at the very top of the irresponsible levee list.

  • Apicalis Gaming
    Apicalis Gaming ヶ月 前

    Hahaha lol the US are retarded. There should be some part of the government working together with scientists to calculate the best levee design, height and placement.
    In germany (and probably all over europe) we build our levees as they are needed and we create huge spaces where the floods can go to called (Flussaue).

  • hevquip
    hevquip ヶ月 前

    'How people who keep living in floodzones keep getting flooded. The answer may not surprise you.'

  • erich
    erich ヶ月 前

    Just like water war makes drought worse

  • RIP Off
    RIP Off ヶ月 前

    just dont live there xDD

  • Bram
    Bram ヶ月 前


  • moonmoonbirdcpt
    moonmoonbirdcpt ヶ月 前

    broken levee laws are just a small part of what is broken with the US law system.

  • roberto trevino
    roberto trevino ヶ月 前

    This is just a thought but I believe if you build rows of levees could help to allow more space for water, sure some building will be damaged but the ones farder will atleast have a chance

  • Abu Rabba
    Abu Rabba ヶ月 前

    As a lebanese citizen, looking at the hilly messy terrain of my country made me think that countries like america that have huge flat terraint are more advantagious (sorry for the bad english) but it looks like being close to rivers there causes disater. When in the meanwhile lebanon is the most water abundent country in the middle east due to the numbers of rivers which MOST of them run from the mountain tops straight to the sea (the mediterranean one)not causing any disasters in the near houses.

  • niko lafresh
    niko lafresh ヶ月 前


  • Tloh Bor
    Tloh Bor ヶ月 前

    the fact is that they dont want better protection against floods. the US needs a lot of disasters to keep their construction workers busy which is the same reason china builds ghost cities.

  • Jacob Griffin
    Jacob Griffin ヶ月 前

    I wonder if the next Vox-Propublica video will be titled _How advertisers enabling comments on their ad videos can put society in danger._