Redirecting floodwater into aquifer

For some years now the pattern of drought followed by flooding is experienced in many countries.

Serious reduction in water levels in aquifers causes drinking water shortages.

It is therefore necessary to build a system which directs flood waters into refilling aquifers so as not to waste all the surface water.

There is plenty of research explaining how this could be done.

An example given is the flooding of vineyards which increased groundwater at the Terranova Ranch, near Fresno, California which diverted water from a full flood-control channel.

An excellent explanation of the action of groundwater is here:

  • This is an extract:
  • During the rainstorm water soaked into the ground in the hill above the driveway. As happens with water below ground, it started moving along underground layers of soil and rock that are porous enough to allow water to move through it. After a storm, water doesn’t move straight down into the ground, but, rather, it moves both downward and horizontally along permeable layers. The water is moving downhill (“down-gradient”) toward a creek at the bottom of the hill.Normally, the water would just flow underground to the bottom of the hill and seep out of the stream banks into the creek. But here the driveway was dug deep enough into the ground so that it cut into the permeable layer of soil that carries the underground water downhill. Thus, you can see groundwater seepage coming to the surface.By the way, it is seepage such as this that helps keep water flowing in many creeks and streams during periods of drought…….

Drought conditions are depriving wildlife of life sustaining water. Many animals have died as a result. Yet water lies beneath the ground, such as the Sahara.

Here is an extract from a report dated 2012:

Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater.

They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.

The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters , they stress that large scale drilling might not be the best way of increasing water supplies.

Across Africa more than 300 million people are said not to have access to safe drinking water……

The BBC covered the finding at

Why hasn’t the funding been made available to exploit this resource?

Many countries and major cities like Mexico City, are suffering from drought and yet this predicted problem, due to climate change, has not been acted upon to create resilience against this threat to life, to all living things.

In Canada the importance of wetlands in times of drought has been highlighted:

Here is an extract:

The challenge is to move away from simply responding to crises with aid and instead develop a more proactive resource management approach that identifies risk and targets programs such as wetland protection and restoration to reduce that risk. Building resilience lessens the need for costly crisis-oriented government interventions. We need to conserve wetlands rather than pay billions of dollars for drought aid. We need to put programs and incentives in place to make it worthwhile for farmers to retain those wetlands and safeguard the benefits they provide our watersheds. We need governments promoting wetland protection policies not drainage policies. Sadly, Saskatchewan is still the only Province without a Wetland Protection Policy and WSA continues to develop drainage projects in the face of drought and climate change. We are being “hydro-illogical”. 

For more information about wetlands and watershed stewardship, and the Lower Qu’Appelle Watershed Stewards visit:

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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