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Hugh Haskell wrote:
At 10:55 -0500 6/13/01, Rick Tarara wrote:
> Probably only
>those projects which offer serious flood control and irrigation potential
>will be considered in the future.
Even flood control has its problems. Look at what we have done to the
Mississippi. By trying to contain its course by building dikes all
alnong its length we have just about guaranteed that when it does
flood--and no system can guarantee that it will never flood--the
areas where the flooding occurs will be dramatically harder hit than
they would have been in the past. As we contain all that water
between defined banks, it accumulates more and more, so that when it
finally overflows, we have a much greater volume of water flowing
into the flooded area than would happen otherwise.
Of course, we create this pressure to contain the river by insisting
on building our cities and homes in the areas where the river is
known to flood every spring. And in the normal course of events, that
flooding is beneficial, since it brings fertile silt to the rivers
banks and thus enhances agriculture in those areas. Once we "control"
the floods by damming and diking, we have to spend billions on
fertilizers to replace the natural ones that we have kept out (and of
course that excluded silt, having to have someplace to go, now goes
to the bottom of the river channel, making it shallower and requiring
ever higher dikes to keep out the supposedly bad floods).
Of course, we could solve the flooding problem by simply moving all
that water onto the farmlands that were constructed in areas where
the soil was unsuited to agriculture (the Central and Imperial
valleys of California, for instance), but that just replaces one
problem with another, because now the areas that are suitable for
agriculture will find that they are not getting the flood waters that
they depend on. Look at the Colorado River, which no longer makes it
to the Gulf of California, or the Owens valley of California which
used to be a thriving agricultural area and is now a desert because
the water was taken to fertilize the Los Angeles basin (for people
mostly, but for some agriculture-the movie "Chinatown" was very
loosely based on this).
It's a vicious cyle. What it all boils down to is, it's not nice to
mess around with Mother Nature.
Let's face it. People use a Mac because they want to, Windows because they