Pierce on Solutions to Mitigate Floods in San Francisco

Gregory Pierce, co-director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, spoke to SFGATE about San Francisco’s lack of preparation to prevent flooding after supercharged storms. The city’s sewage infrastructure is extremely antiquated, combining raw sewage and stormwater runoff into a single system. San Francisco’s vast concrete landscape also enables flooding as it doesn’t allow for any stormwater to absorb into the cityscape. Creating a landscape that allows for such drainage will help reduce the chances of flooding. “Reducing paved area is the biggest factor we need to take into account that we haven’t historically,” Pierce said. In addition, about 4,400 of the city’s 25,000 catch basins have been “adopted,” but they are not regularly cleaned by volunteers. “It’s great if neighborhoods and local communities can take additional ownership of unclogging issues,” Pierce said. But he stressed the importance of having centralized maintenance of the system in order to keep the basins clean.


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