Positive Effects of Floods

••• Bkamprath/iStock/GettyImages

People have come to regard floods as disasters in terms of lives lost and property damaged. Humans have altered the flow of natural waterways to meet their needs but with sometimes disastrous consequences. Though floods can be devastating to population centers, they have always been an integral part of nature's renewal process, providing many long-term positive effects.

Renewal of Wetlands

Floods contribute to the health of ecologically important wetland areas. Healthy wetlands promote healthy water supplies and even affect air quality. Floods inundate wetlands with fresh waste. They also carry and deposit nutrient-rich sediments that support both plant and animal life in wetlands. In addition, flooding adds nutrients to lakes and streams that help support healthy fisheries.

Returning Nutrients to Soil

Floods distribute and deposit river sediments over large areas of land. These river sediments replenish nutrients in topsoil and make agricultural lands more fertile. The populations of many ancient civilizations concentrated along the floodplains of rivers such as the Nile, the Tigris and the Yellow because periodic flooding resulted in fertile, productive farmland. The construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt prevented the Nile from flooding major population centers downriver, but it also depleted once fertile agricultural lands along the banks of the river.

Preventing Erosion and Maintaining Land Mass Elevation

Soil deposited by flood waters prevents erosion and helps maintain the elevation of land masses above sea level. The rapidly receding land of the Mississippi River Delta is a direct result of man-made flood controls and levees that prevent topsoil-replenishing sediments from being deposited in the delta.

Recharge and Replenish Ground Water

Many population centers depend upon ground water and underground aquifers for fresh water. Flood waters absorb into the ground and percolate down through the rock to recharge these underground aquifers, which supply natural springs, wells, rivers and lakes with fresh water.

Related Articles

Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Environments
Economic Impact of Coastal Erosion
Solutions for Soil Pollution
Famous Delta Landforms
Advantages & Disadvantages of Constructing Dams
What Is a Delta Land Form?
Ways to Reduce Land Pollution
How Does Erosion Affect Landforms?
The Effects of Soil Erosion
The Effects of Human Intervention on the Environment
Pollution at Cape Fear River
Soil Erosion Due to Rainforest Deforestation
Effects of Soil Erosion on the Ecosystem
Nile Delta Facts
The Disadvantages of Wetland Nature Reserves
Water pH & Pollution
How Are People Affected by Floods?
Human Impacts on Freshwater Ecosystems
Landforms and Natural Resources of the Coastal Plain
What Are the Causes of the Destruction of Ecosystem?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!