Thursday, November 3, 2016


This past Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Don't blame nature for flooding's devastating impact". One excellent quote by Dr. Gilbert White is "Floods are acts of nature; but flood losses are largely acts of man." In light of climate change resulting in some areas experiencing more frequent storms and accompanying rainfall, changes are required. There have been and are negative effects from "historic and current human land use practices in our watersheds.".

It is our floodplains that need to be restored and not further marginalized to reduce human suffering and capitol losses. Humans including developers and politicians have been far too eager to maximize short term profits by building on floodplains. Quoting Barry Wilson the author of this article : "we submerge floodplains under deep reservoirs created by dams, we build settlements and industrial manufacturing facilities on them [Chemtura Canada- my addition] , we mine floodplains for gravel, and we drain and cultivate them for modern agriculture.". Regarding mining floodplains for gravel all you have to do is take an aerial trip along the Grand River through Waterloo Region. Worse yet we are still doing it with the current Jigs Hollow Pit beside Winterbourne. Regarding submerging floodplains via a dam simply look at the Woolwich dam. That dam was built (1972) in order to have water in the low flow summer months to flush Uniroyal's wastes down the Canagagigue Creek. Any "flood control" was primarily also for Uniroyal's benefit as their manufacturing site is on the creek's floodplain in Elmira.

Floodplains also supply a myriad of beneficial impacts to water quality, biological productivity, reducing erosion and to aquifers. They are also a form of cold water storage for release into waterways in late summer when the water temperatures otherwise would be harmful to fish. As usual human beings have simply outsmarted themselves albeit always for the benefit of the few at the time.

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