Watching the devastating effects of flooding on our country on the news should open up the debate of adaptation to climate change. We have known for some time that climate change would result in more regular and severe climatic conditions. Storm Dennis is a prime example of this problem.
Natural solutions are a big part of the solution. We have for centuries dredged and straightened our rivers to allow for water to move more quickly. Although this seems to make sense it results in water moving quickly from the highlands to the sea and during severe weather events causes built up areas in confluences to be flooded. In the Netherlands, where there is the best form of water management, they have resolved to allow rivers to to naturally meander and flood the plains, as this holds the water on the land, which slowly then flows during these flood events. This is a natural solution to flood management.
Although this process reduces year round agriculture it better protects built up areas, and actually results in water being cleaned before flowing to the sea. The costs of this form of flood protection are much less than other forms of hard flood protection and there are numerous benefits; carbon capture, water cleaning, natural restoration of nutrients and wildlife.
It’s vital we educate people about these solutions during this time, especially farmers, and find ways to financially reward landowners in allowing their rivers to flood their land. I believe that the beneficiaries have a role to paying for this service; councils, water companies, insurance companies and the government. What do you think?
Also- is this the time to be enthusing others to do more to tackle climate change in their own lives? Is it right to use a lever such as storm Dennis to do this? Would be interesting to hear your thoughts.