Why Does It Seem Like Charleston Always Floods When It Rains?

"Everything should be made as simple as possible; but not simpler."
 -Albert Einstein

Complaints & Concerns

Over the years, the Department of Public Service has fielded countless complaints and concerns regarding the drainage of the City of Charleston. Many of the concerns are accompanied by suggestions on how the drainage might be improved and the flooding mitigated. While many of the suggestions have good technical merit, the complexity of the problems are not understood fully and thus the potential solutions are unable to be implemented. Oftentimes, the lack of implementation of a solution is seen as indifference on the part of the City, and friction may result with the citizen.

In the past, as I attempted to explain many of the complexities of the problems to citizens, I realized that each separate element of the problem relates to the others and none can be fully understood without understanding all of them. As a result, I began to formulate a detailed explanation and put it into a format that could be accessed and read by all citizens.


The purpose of the presentation is to educate the public on why the City of Charleston and the surrounding areas experience persistent and significant flooding problems. As I developed the presentation, I adhered to Albert Einstein's advice. While I am not attempting to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity into one Grand Unifying Theory, I have tried to take some relatively complex concepts and make them as non-technical as possible without sacrificing the ability to accurately present necessary information. My hope is that at the end of the presentation, the general public will have a better understanding of why these persistent problems exist and why they are so difficult to overcome.

Why Does It Seem Like Charleston Always Floods When It Rains? (PDF)