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EERC's '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. After a flood crest passes, the water would be released...

Waffle Plan
As proposed by UND's Energy and Environmental Research Center, the Waffle Plan calls for farmers upstream of Red River tributaries would be paid to store water on their land until flood waters recede, lowering the crest. The name comes from the crisscross pattern of the roads retaining the water, like ridges on a waffle retaining syrup. Herald file photo by John Stennes.

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 UND Energy and Environmental Research Center.

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

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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 report

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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