Flood Plains are for Floods

By Viv Forbes

Natural flood plains form where floods spread silt and mud in river valleys. Being flat, fertile, picturesque and usually supplied with surface and underground water, they attract farms, orchards and gardens. These are inevitably followed by roads, houses and businesses.

Despite all the planners with their rules, the pressure of people plus a bit of corruption has always resulted in population clustering on fertile flood plains and deltas beside scenic rivers. There is no point trying to stop or reverse this tide of history but those who choose to build on flood plains must bear the costs of the occasional flood.

Community groups will always help those stricken by floods but taxpayers and insurers should not be forced to subsidise the insurance and damage costs for those who choose to live in risky places – their choice, their risk, their cost. Naturally insurance for flood-prone property will be expensive or not available – a clear message for those with ears to hear.

More cautious people build on the hills and leave the flood plains for floods, farms, trees, market gardens and grass. Rational town planning would require sellers and developers to provide accurate flood maps to buyers, and councils should paint flood levels on power poles.

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