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Published June 07, 2009, 12:00 AM

‘Waffle Plan’ is one flood-control option

Think for a moment about how syrup pools between the ridges of a waffle. Then try to imagine huge amounts of Red River floodwaters being stored temporarily in fields between elevated roads.

By: Jon Knutson, INFORUM

Think for a moment about how syrup pools between the ridges of a waffle.

Then try to imagine huge amounts of Red River floodwaters being stored temporarily in fields between elevated roads.

After a flood crest passes, the water would be released to enter rivers safely.

That’s the essence of the proposed “Waffle Plan” developed by the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center.

Nobody knows what role the plan ultimately might play in future flood-control efforts.

But the plan, if implemented, could save more than $800 million in flood damage over 50 years, according to a report from the UND center.

Models suggest that implementing the plan would reduce flooding along the Red River by as much as 6.2 feet during a flood similar to that of the 1997 flood, the repot said.

Farmers have wondered whether the waffle system could delay spring planting and hurt yields.

The plan assumes that farmers would “receive a sign-up bonus for agreeing to participate, plus an additional payment in the event that water was stored on their land,” the report said.

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