Flood protection is too expensive for many vulnerable towns

CLARKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Small towns on some of the nation’s most flood-prone rivers are struggling to afford flood-protection systems.

Most communities along America’s rivers have some sort of flood protection — usually a concrete wall or an earthen levee. But a few places can’t afford it, such as Clarksville, Missouri; Watertown, South Dakota; and Hamburg, Iowa.

Even when Congress authorizes money, the local share of a major flood project is often more than a small town can pay for. Some communities also struggle with the aesthetics of flood barriers. They worry that large walls will spoil the waterfront streets that are popular with tourists.

With major flooding becoming more common, leaders of some small towns are resigned to the ritual of sandbagging and evacuating every time the water rises.

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