April Branch Meeting Main Speaker

Flood Risk Management: ASCE's Call for National Strategy

Carol Ellinger Haddock, P.E.  - Interim Deputy Director, Engineering and Construction Division, City of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineereing

Among the great challenges the U.S. faces today is recognizing the magnitude of risk posed by flooding and motivating the public and decision makers to make the investments required to reduce flood risk, including making emergency preparations, strengthening our existing flood protection systems, and finding new ways to reduce our present and future vulnerability to flooding.

More than eight years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the U.S. Gulf Coast, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued a call for action urging the nation to address the growing challenge of increasing flood losses in the U.S. and the threat to the safety of the populations living in the paths of such events. Similar reports have been issued by both governmental and nongovernmental organizations since Katrina, and they have echoed ASCE’s call.

Carol participated on ASCE’s Task Committee on Flood Safety Policies and Practices to examine the nations response to the call for action.  During the examination, the committee watched the nation respond to Superstorm Sandy.  The question asked was have we learned our lesson or merely observed them?  If the devastating impacts of Sandy and the losses sustained in floods and hurricanes since Katrina were to be used as the measures of progress, the nation has failed to heed the call.

Carol will provide a high level summary of the report and bring it into local context.  The full report is available from ASCE at no cost and can be found at:


Carol Ellinger Haddock , P.E., is currently serving as the Interim Deputy Director for the Engineering and Construction Division of the Department of Public Works and Engineering. In this role, she leads a team of nearly 250 employees that are responsible for the design and construction of a more than $550 annual Capital Improvement Program. 

Prior to this assignment, she led the Infrastructure Planning Branch which is responsible for the long-range planning efforts that lead to development of specific infrastructure projects for programming in future Capital Improvement Plans (CIP). She is the co-author of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan Process Manual for Infrastructure Programs which documents an objective and transparent process and criteria to identify and prioritize infrastructure needs throughout the City.  This document is the basis for project development as part of the City’s ReBuild Houston efforts.  She has served as the City’s representative on environmental and water quality efforts including the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System joint task force, the regional Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) and has led both the Brownfields and Municipal Settings Designations programs. 

Carol has been with the City for more than ten years. Prior to joining the City, Carol spent 6 ½ years as a project manager for the Harris County Flood Control District including a 1-year assignment as a Congressional Fellow in Washington, DC.  She was also a project manager with the Houston consulting firm Klotz Associates, Inc.  She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rice University and a M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Houston.





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