Monday, July 09, 2007


Rep. Matsui wants farms to continue serving as flood buffer for Sacramento

Flood threat can be managed in part via better rules for land conservation and land development.

"Rep. Doris Matsui is pressing controversial legislation to reduce the flood threat from the Sacramento River by expanding farmland conservation programs throughout the river's vast Northern California watershed." (Sacramento Bee 08july2007)

I support Matsui and the goal of maintaining flood-prone lands along our rivers as farmland. Farmland also provides places where precipitation can soak into the ground. In developed areas the water quickly runs off of the roofs and pavement and increases flooding in the nearby watercourses. Hopefully the property-rights concerns of rural land owners can be addressed somehow as the legislation is further developed.

The insane land use patterns of the past are not sustainable.

Society cannot afford to build more multi-billion dollar dams and levees to ensure that every multi-million dollar land development on low-lying land is protected against flooding. Sacramento is currently the U.S. city with the greatest risk of flooding. Continuing our foolish land development practices in the Sacramento River valley will only increase the risk of a catastrophic flood inundating the city of Sacramento.

Flood-prone lands should be used for agriculture, nature preserves, recreation and river channels. Frequent small floods can be managed or controlled to some extent, but the rare giant floods cannot be prevented. The cost to society is much less if the giant flood spreads over farmland rather than inundating a city like Sacramento. All new developments of towns and cities should be built only on higher ground that is less susceptible to flooding. Nobody should have the rights to make foolish developments on flood-prone lands and then expect a taxpayer bailout to provide flood control for any homeowners or businesses that were foolish enough to locate there.

More about: Flood Control in Sacramento, CA (California).

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