> Bravo! Someone is finally looking at one of the impacts of agriculture on flooding!
> I can offer no ideas on dams and floodgates, but I can offer an idea to make this
> sort of approach less necessary.
> It looks like we are again looking at a problem (flooding) and dealing with the
> symptoms rather than addressing the root cause. More flooding is evident as we add
> more and more impervious structures through development. Another factor is the
> degradation of our soil quality through use of chemicals and over tillage. These
> farming practices reduce the ability of soils to absorb water and recharge ground
> water reserves. Thus, higher runoff.
> It seems to me that improving the quality of soils in our agricultural areas would
> lessen flooding at a lower cost, provide a long term solution, obviate maintenance
> and regulation, while improving our ability to produce quality food.
> I realize that government agencies think only in terms of centralized, regulated,
> budgeted programs, but a program that addresses the root causes of a problem would
> be far more successful, benefit more sectors and require less long term funding due
> to continued regulation. It would empower farmers to increase the quality and
> productivity of their land and increase their income without making them dependent
> on another federal program for income.
> I also realize that public programs require substantiated results for money spent-
> easier to cite number of dams and water holding potential statistics than to talk
> about increase of soil quality. But think of the nightmare of regulating all those
> floodgates across the country. Do we need a federal agency larger than TVA?
> Again, it looks like the federal government is looking to farmers to solve the
> problems created by an unsustainable society. It has already been proposed that
> farmland receive sewage sludge from urban areas. Now we need to flood our fields to
> keep from flooding urban areas that create the most runoff from buildings and roads?
> The only way to regulate a centralized program would be to shut down the independent
> farm operators, and the growing of food and regulation of water on the fields placed
> under a central governmental agency. Do we have any examples of how well this has
> worked in other countries?
> Crosswhite.William@epamail.epa.gov wrote:
> > Short-Term Storage of Flood Water on Farmland
> > A colleague is developing and examining the idea that the benefits of short-term
> > storage and management of flood water on farmland may be much greater than the
> > associated costs. This storage would supplement the storage that is already
> > available in COE and Small Watershed structures. If large amounts of flood
> > water could be stored on farmland, the effective operation of all these
> > activities should be closely coordinated. I include a summary of the idea and a
> > request.
> > Summary
> > Short-term storage of flood waters by the temporary plugging of ditches and
> > drainage systems and holding water on farmland with berms around the edge of
> > fields and other actions could reduce the social and environmental cost
> > associated with downstream flood impacts. In return, farmers would be paid an
> > amount that would cover the opportunity cost of the land for the period of
> > runoff storage including crop loss and any other related costs. Additionally,
> > there could be cost sharing of installing berms and risers to store water on the
> > surface, gates to retain water in drainage ditches, and modifications to
> > drainage systems to temporarily store water in drainage pipes and the soil.
> > Request
> > First, I solicit and welcome comments on (1) the feasibility of storing and
> > managing runoff on farmland and (2) any suggestions and ideas on ways that can
> > be used to provide short-term storage of water on farmland.
> > Second, if you have installed berms and risers, gates in drainage ditches,
> > controlled drainage and subirrigation systems, or other systems that would
> > provide short-term storage of water on farmland, please share information on the
> > costs associated with these systems in as much detail as is available.
> > Thank you very much for the information and ideas you share. Publications and
> > other materials welcomed.
> > William Crosswhite
> > USEPA Mail code 2121
> > 401 M Street SW
> > Washington, DC 20460
> > 202-260-6804
> > Fax 202-260-2300
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