With all the news about all the hurricanes causing so much flooding this season, I keep hearing a lot of hype about climate change and end-of-days scenarios. I think maybe we should sit down and think about this from a more practical view point: land development.
I know what you’re thinking: “what does land development have to do with hurricanes?”
Hurricanes happen. Maybe they happen more regularly, or more powerfully due to increased ocean temperatures, right? Yes, both of those things are true.
But why do we really have all this record flooding all over the place? It doesn’t even have to be caused by a hurricane. Houston has been experiencing increased flooding in recent history. With devastating and costly effects.
Houston has always been an area known for flooding, so why has it just recently began to see increased rates and severity of flood? Even major flooding outside of the areas of Houston designated as flood zones.
Well, my somewhat-educated-guess is that it has a lot to do with urban development and poor city planning. They have paved over much of their prairie region, which would normally absorb much of the water that is now sitting on the concrete and asphalt with nowhere to drain. I mean, there’s a reason it’s called a “flood plain.”
Prairie and grasslands allow for a lot of water to be absorbed, in both the land itself and in the bodies of water found in these regions. Having grasslands and prairies in tact and in range of the flood zones could have greatly reduced the amount of water left standing in the city. And while it would not likely reduce the frequency or strength of the storms, it could reduce the frequency and severity of the flooding they cause.
This could reduce the damage and costs associated with the storms, and even the fatalities cause by them.