The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

July 28, 2013

Flooding will always be an issue

RICHMOND — Flooding. It seems like it’s been a problem everywhere recently, mostly because it has. The Register has written several stories about flooding in recent issues taking place all over town. Flooding has kept me up a night or two in the past week, and I live in a second-floor apartment.

Reporting on this issue brings back a few memories from my childhood. I grew up in a house situated at the bottom of two hills. When we got heavy rains, the drainage from all the other properties in the subdivision and the roads would flow to a single spot, my family’s yard. There were two giant storm sewers designed to catch the water, but often they didn’t work because there was just too much flowing downhill.

On several occasions we would get nothing short of a river flowing through our yard. The current was so strong a friend of mine once lost a shoe in it, true story.

As a kid, having my own personal tributary to the municipal water supply was incredibly fun. My parents, on the other hand, always seemed to be worried about silly things like property damage, clearly missing the point that this miracle of nature had made me the most popular guy on the street.

Of course, after the rain was finished I could see why they were concerned. Our basement would always acquire a unique smell, and for days I had trouble falling asleep because the industrial-sized fans my father had running to dry the place were roughly twice as loud as a train.

When the city eventually got around to replacing the worn-down street we lived on, they gave an honest effort to fixing the flooding problem (by then I had been sufficiently convinced that it was actually a problem), but the flooding still happened every once in a while.

That sort of brings me to the points I wanted to make about flooding before the rush of childhood memories.

First, flooding is always going to happen somewhere. Cities are not stagnant beings; they’re constantly changing and expanding. With new development comes new problems, and figuring out how to deal with storm water that wasn’t an issue in the past is one of those problems.

Second, as easy as it may be sometimes, we can’t blame flooding on the government whenever it happens. I’ve talked a lot to many members of Richmond’s government, and I can honestly say none of them want your homes to flood, even if you voted for the other candidate.

Sometimes they make mistakes, and when they do it’s our job as residents to make sure they hear about it. But I personally think the quick response to the issues on Sunset Avenue is a good sign that this city’s government will listen to its residents if we get loud enough.

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