Does urban growth add to flooding?

If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a farmer or rancher complain that urban growth contributes to flooding. They say that new streets, parking lots and golf courses accelerate runoff into streams and rivers, worsening flooding.

I’m not a scientist or water management expert. I’m not qualified to judge if farmers’ claims are accurate.

But a U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet on the subject is interesting. Among its conclusions: “Urbanization generally increases the size and frequency of floods and may expose communities to increasing flood hazards.”

Here’s the link:

2 thoughts on “Does urban growth add to flooding?

  1. I agree as the cities have grown, the urbanization will factor into flooding, but I never see or read/talk about anyone how the farmers are emptying the sloughs with drainage and burning off then they scrape the land so drainage works. I can remember in late 80’s early 90’s I could go south out of Fargo and there were sloughs after sloughs that were full of water that I could hunt. Those sloughs hold a bunch of water that did not drain into the river system. Now, when I go south to the border the sloughs are not there as they are drained and the water drains to the rivers. With the sloughs drained the water has to go somewhere and with both the farmers draining sloughs and with how urbanization has grown don’t you think its all catching up with the times???

  2. Of course the growth of communities does add to flood concerns, but these very farmers don’t want to address the fact that their actions contribute more so. Most communities have to construct at least some sort of retention ponds when they expand to collect some of the runoff before it enters streams and rivers. As the previous poster wrote, the drainage of farm land has a much broader reach and ag friendly states don’t want to upset anybody by speaking the truth of what problems have been caused by tile drainage already and how much worse it will become as more and more plastic is put in the ground.

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