Letter: Flooding could worsen in time: Get proactive
Op-Ed · June 21, 2013

A study released by FEMA last week proposes that increasingly severe weather could increase the areas of our country at risk for flooding by up to 45 percent by the year 2100.

This could double the number of flood-prone properties covered by the NFIP program.

2100 seems a long way off. We could wait a little longer, watch how the science around climate change transpires.

Common sense calls us to be proactive, now. It is past time to stop building on low ground, and past time to drag our feet on recreating the wetlands that help moderate flooding.

We have been lucky this year. If the “rain events” of this spring had occurred after a normal rainy season in 2012, we might have been far beyond the damages and inconveniences of 2008.

This time around, we did better, both because of last year’s extended dry period, and because of more pro-active behavior, personally and governmentally.

There remains much to be done before “next time.” Flood mitigation practices need to be given more priority and funding. Landowners need to acknowledge that what is done on private property affects people beyond their property lines. The rights of property owners must be tempered with the rights of those who are affected by their actions.

Water will be an increasingly important concern as our population increases, causing more pressure on maintaining safe drinking supplies, at the same time that more building causes waterway control problems.

Water moves. What we do to our supply here affects our neighbors a half-mile downstream, and everywhere that the water ends up.

While farmers in the Midwest have the option of voluntarily practicing nutrient runoff management practices, all of those downstream are affected involuntarily. We know the damage that the nutrient runoff causes. Is ignoring that and choosing to disregard it really an acceptable option? Is that what we want defining “Iowa nice”?

We need to acknowledge how connected we all are. We need to include all the “costs” involved in our decisions, beyond our personal financial results.

Laura Twing, Tipton

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