The Benefits of Floods

waterAlthough flooding, generally, is a bane to most people out there I can’t help but bring your attention to the fact that floods can be quite beneficial. Actually, believe it or not, nature benefits more from natural floods than from not having them at all. The thing that makes natural floods a disaster is when flood waters occur in areas populated by humans and in areas of significant human development. Otherwise, when left in its natural state, the benefits of floods outweigh the adverse effects.

Let’s begin with river flooding. Rivers overflow for reasons like excess rainfall. The good thing about river overflows is the fact that as flood waters flow into the banks, sand, silt and debris are deposited into the surrounding land. After the river water subsided and go back to its normal flow, the deposited materials will help make the land richer or more fertile. The organic materials and minerals deposited by the river water keeps the soil fertile and productive.

However, too much sand deposit will do the opposite. For farmers that maintain their crops along rivers, they should not feel threatened by yearly flooding. This gives their farm lands better soil consistencies and keeps their land fertile resulting to better harvests each year. Instead of preventing the natural flow of river floods, it might be beneficial in the long run to allow the flood waters to encroach into their lands. It was how nature intended it to be in the first place. However, there may be limits to how much farmers can tolerate such natural occurrences. One has to increase production to feed the demands of the human populace.

Great examples of how river overflows benefit humans are in the Nile river and the Mississippi delta. Farmers in Egypt have long equated river floods to high harvest rates. The higher the flood waters from the river, the better the harvest for that year. However, the case of the Mississippi delta is a little different.

The Mississippi river naturally overflows and leaving behind huge deposits of sediments. In time these sediments created lands which are now identified as part of the Mississippi delta. But when humans began settling in along the river banks, they constructed complicated and elaborate systems to prevent or control the flood waters from the Mississippi river. Without the regular sediment deposits that the land along the area of the Mississippi delta receives from the river, the land begins to sink. Each year the Mississippi delta becomes dryer and sink more and more.

Floods are also known to renew wetland areas which in turn hosts a wide range of flora and fauna. Preventing flood waters from entering such wetland areas will create imbalance to the natural state of things resulting to destruction of natural habitats and even extinction of various species of animals and plants.

In conclusion, we can say the floods plays an important part in various ecosystems. Humans, therefore, should be careful when they try to prevent or control floods. Oftentimes, human intervention causes more harm than good.

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