Flooding has been a natural occurrence, one that takes place when there’s heavy downpour and while floods are generally associated with negative connotations such as widespread destruction and fatalities it should also be pointed out that there are certainly positive aspects to flooding as well. Take ancient Egypt, it built its entire society around the annual flooding of the Nile and it remained that way for over three thousand years. In fact, the annual floo0ding of the Nile was a much anticipated and celebrated event as the flood waters helped to spread the silt onto the land, thereby making it extremely fertile. That’s just an example and as you can see, flooding comes with both positive and negative impacts; it is time that we took a closer look at the same.
Positive impacts of flooding
- Replenish groundwater: Given the fact that population is increasing and that the demand for potable water seems to be exponentially increasing, flood waters would indeed be a godsend, in a manner of speaking. For one, flooding the plain will help recharge and renew all the natural aquifers and for another, flood waters should help increase the groundwater level, thereby making it all the more accessible to others. For example, the devastating floods that had hit Chennai 5 years before increasing the groundwater level by 15 feet.
- Improves fertility: Flood waters carry silt and high concentrations of nutrients with them in the form of silt; when the silt is deposited on the land as the waters recede, they can provide a ready source of nutrient-rich soil for the plants and help to increase the fertility of the soil. These river sediments help to increase the fertility in the topsoil.
- Wetlands: Flood waters help to renew natural wetlands where the excess water along with the nutrient loaded silt helps to recharge the wetlands, so much so that both the local flora and fauna stand to gain by the same. Flooding in the basin comes as a godsend for all the creatures that depend on the wetlands for their very survival. Now with added nutrients, thanks to the floods, there would be an implosion of life in the nutrient-rich waters which in turn will help to feed the local fauna dependent on the same.
- Renews fish stock: The nutrient-rich flood waters often support various microorganisms which make it effective for replenishing fish stock.
The negative impact of flooding
- Wide-scale devastation: Floods can take place in a matter of hours; all you need is a cloudburst, heavy downpour and the conditions for a flood should be just right. Floods, as mentioned earlier are a natural occurrence but the issue is that they cause widespread devastation. They do not differentiate between the young and the old, the rich and the poor, and in fact, if you happen to be camped in the path of the incoming flood, you’d better get to the high ground right away. It is essential that all the agencies cooperate with each other and ensure that the public is kept out of harm and danger. Flood waters can be extremely fast and quite powerful this is why all the local streams and rivers should be watched at all times and an alarm sounded, as the waters begin to rise.
- Economic losses: Raging flood waters can often wash away automobiles, large farms, crops, and even houses and leave you alone in the middle of the street with nothing. Now, imagine the same happening all over the city and then try to work out the economic damage; floods can cause you to experience an economic loss like never before where you end up as a destitute. The government of the day should be prepared for the flood and do all it can to help mitigate the effects of the same so that the public is not unduly affected.
- Pollution: As a result of the raging waters where everything gets washed away by the rivers, the river itself is bound to get somewhat polluted in the process. While you can remove some of the stuff from the flood waters such as a sofa, it can be hard to remove toxic substances that have mixed with the water.
These are some of the positive and negative effects of flooding; and while it may not be possible to prevent a flood as it is a natural occurrence you can at least take a few measures to bring it under control so that the public at large are not unduly affected.