Final Word from Monday, August 19, 2002

As the floodwaters subside, the finger-pointing increases. One of the first targets in Prague was Mayor Igor Němec, not only because of his bad predictions, but also because he's from ODS. Another target is Povodí Vltavy Vltava, the state company charged with regulating the river's water level. Němec said he used its predictions to make his public statements. Jan Pravda, a trained hydrologist who runs Pravda Capital investment-banking boutique, suggested putting together a team of professionals (including hydrologists) from universities, the academy of science and elsewhere for using the latest predictive techniques to create a better monitoring and modeling system. The authorities handled the flood well, he said, but some damage could have been avoided if there had been a better link between government and applied science.


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