Study: Less Sprawl to Prevent Flooding
A study conducted by Purdue University has shown, through computer modeling, that decreasing urban sprawl and increasing forests could be one of the more effective ways of preventing devastating floods. How so? UPI reports:
Several variables — including forest re-growth, urbanization and buffers between development and streams — were analyzed to estimate their impact on rivers and streams.
“Changes in the land’s surface feed back to runoff. Urban sprawl and impervious surfaces are the biggest culprits,” Bryan Pijanowski, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources, said. “If you’re able to control development, it is the most effective way to save our river ecosystem.”
Urban areas in the United States would double in 20 years at the current rate, Pijanowski said, and in the model predictions, doubling the urban area in the Muskegon River watershed increased runoff by 1 1/2 times.
The findings, published in the online version of the journal Environmental Management, suggest slowing the rate of urban sprawl would be the most effective way to reduce or control runoff.
Let’s see. No complicated barriers needed. Only good old urban planning. Chalk this up to another win for smart growth.