Control of 1973 Mississippi River Flood

by Robert I. Kaufman, (F.ASCE), Asst. Chf.; Engrg. Div., U.S. Army Engr. Div., Lower Mississippi,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1978, Vol. 104, Issue 1, Pg. 105-121

Document Type: Journal Paper


In 1973 a major flood occurred on the Mississippi River. Much of the alluvial valley of the river between Alton, Ill. and the Gulf of Mexico is protected against floods by Federally constructed flood control works. As some of these systems were not complete at the onset of the flood, a major flood fight was required to safeguard the valley. Many miles of levee had to be raised to provide proper protection. Other problems requiring flood-fight efforts were seepage under levees, scour at levees and structures, and riverbank failures. Even though major emergency efforts were required, the Federal flood control systems were effective and of great value in controlling the flood. The projects prevented the inundation of 26,000 sq miles (67,500 km²) of land and reduced flood damages by over –14,000,000,000. However, the losses sustained indicate the need to complete authorized works and possibly expand existing projects or initiate new projects in some areas, or both.

Subject Headings: Levees and dikes | Rivers and streams | Floods | Federal government | Control systems | Alluvial channels | High-rise buildings | Gulfs | Mississippi River | Gulf of Mexico

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