Cities around the world quickly deteriorate as they slowly succumb to the natural resource of water. Commonly, claims are tossed around that events like this are ‘unexpectedly’ caused by erosion and flooding which poses the question: how does this happen and why? These cities, destroyed by natural resources, are made a mess of because of their placement in these pinpoint locations of the globe. Planet Earth continues to trudge through numerous droughts that aid in these erosions and floods. Specifically, this is seen in California, the state that has continuously suffered through a drought since the early 2000’s. The lack of water causes land to dry up or create the sensation that there was never water on these land masses. Construction companies then get permits passed by the county and build cities, shopping centers, hotels, etc in these areas. Later, when the water returns it erodes the land from beneath, floods sweep through the streets as well. Water always finds its way back.
Erica Gies’ book Water Always Wins has a clear consensus on how water works in its natural resources. According to Gies, water works differently throughout different geological times. Different types of soil react differently to lack of water, and reintroduction of water. When cities redirect water or dry up land to build on it, the water will eventually find its way back. Not only does redirection impact this problem, but naturally dry lands and ecosystems impact many factors as well. It is just a matter of how and when.
A prime example of these happenings shines through when Death Valley, California flooded. The lands of Death Valley are so dry that when record rainfall numbers occurred, the city went into a state of emergency as flash floods began. These flash floods, although sudden, should be expected. Due to the fact that the solid is so dry and the environment is not used to the amount of water it is receiving, the only thing the solid can do is take in as much water it can and ‘reject’ the rest of it.
Cities that deliberately dry up or redirect water sources consequently endanger the cities for the future through erosion or flooding, such as the city of San Francisco. San Francisco, although another example in California, is a prime example of what can happen to similar bodies of land near or on water. To expand, the sea level along the California state is rapidly rising, but in San Francisco it is rising particularly swiftly. Different sections of San Francisco succumb to various amounts of damage from rising sea levels like Embarcadero and Fort Point. Areas in San Francisco also erode quicker due to natural elements and water wear and tear. This example illuminates areas surrounded by more water or reside in colder, wetter climates and impact.
All together this creates a large global issue that all continents should be weary of. Due to climate change and the harm the past and present generations have caused on the planet, it endangers any environment to this problem, whether that be flooded ecosystems or cities. Cities are eroding, and it no longer poses a mystery because the answer presents itself right in front of the world, it is whether we take the leap of action to change something and let nature run its course.
GIES, ERICA. Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge. APOLLO, 2023.