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Weather Talk: Take care in developing on water's edge

Watching the news of the river floods in Missouri and Arkansas recently, I was struck by the idea that most of the significant cities in the world are built on the water's edge.

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The stadium lights at Jack Williams Field in Fargo poke through the swollen Red River during the 2009 flood. David Samson / The Forum
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Watching the news of the river floods in Missouri and Arkansas recently, I was struck by the idea that most of the significant cities in the world are built on the water’s edge.

Rivers and ocean harbors have historically been logical places for cities to grow because historically, water has been the means by which people and goods have been transported. This is why we call it “shipping.”

Meanwhile, the water at the water’s edge tends to give us problems by being inconsistent. Rain has made rivers swell.  Hurricanes have blown seawater inland. When the problem is too little rain, the problems reverse. Unfortunately, our cities are where they are and we are forced to engineer our way around our water problems.

However, one thing we need to do better is to discourage further frivolous development at the water’s edge. Too much valuable property is being placed at risk because of our desire to have homes near water.

Related Topics: SHIPPING
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