Thursday, June 12, 2008

After The Deluge - - Flooding Questions Need Independent Answers

After the rains stop, and after the basements dry out, and when concern and assistance can turn to longer-range planning and action, communities west to east, and particularly in hard-hit southeastern Wisconsin, need to begin addressing a serious question:

Is there a relationship between the June flooding damage and the development that converted porous, rain-absorbing farmland and green space to impervious parking lots, streets, driveways and other materials that then pushed rain and surface water faster into storm drains, culverts, streams, rivers and lakes - - and then into homes and downtowns?

Given predictions in recent years of more routine heavy rain events in the upper Midwest in a warming climate environment, assessing the situation with land-use patterns as an overlay would make a lot of sense.

Much the way that land-use and development patterns have been studied in the wake of western and southern states' increasing problems with water shortages and forest fire damage.

The blog Wisconsin Truth Watch raised this matter several weeks ago in what is now a very prescient post.

Paul Soglin wondered about the land-use issue the other day as he drove back to Madison from Milwaukee and noted the high levels of water.

How much flooding is the result of heavy rain, and how much is related to the way the heavy rain runs off?

Good question.

And not surprising coming from a former long-term Mayor.

But are other officials making these connections, or raising the questions?

Local, state and federal officials are busy with the present emergency.

And that's exactly as it should be.

That's why I said at the beginning that when things calm down, let's make sure other questions get asked and answered.

I would propose an independent study - - and I would think that the UW-M WATER Institute, with its experts and data bases and unimpeachable credibility is in a perfect position to carry it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how much tax money these rabid anti-tax types in places like Waukesha are going to demand to clean up their flooded basements. Cuz' they sure like tax money when it goes into their pockets.