Slow water: can we tame urban floods by going with the flow?

7. června 2022 5:30


As we face increased flooding, China's sponge cities are taking a new course. But can they steer the country away from concrete megadams?After epic floods in India, South Africa, Germany, New York and Canada killed hundreds in the past year, droughts are now parching landscapes and wilting crops across the western US, the Horn of Africa and Iraq. The responses have included calls for higher levees, bigger drains and longer aqueducts. But these concrete interventions aimed at controlling water are failing. Climate extremes are revealing a hard truth: our development choices - urban sprawl, industrial agriculture and even the concrete infrastructure designed to control water - are exacerbating our problems. Because sooner or later, water always wins.Water might seem malleable and cooperative, willing to flow where we direct it. But as human development expands and the climate changes, water is increasingly swamping cities or dropping to unreachable depths below farms, often making life precarious. Signs of water's persistence abound. Supposedly vanquished waterways pop up in inconvenient places. Seasonal creeks emerging in basements are evidence that those houses encroach on buried streams, while homes built on wetlands are the first to flood. Continue reading...


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