Environmental Consequences of Water Resources Development with Special Emphasis on Flood Control, Irrigation and Drainage

The need to consider the environmental and sociological factors in the water resources planning process is emphasized and the problems of dealing with them are discussed. Despite these problems, it is suggested that since society and culture are considerably influenced by these factors, traditional economic and technologic analyses solely are not sufficient for proper water resources planning and decision-making.

The effects of flood control, irrigation and drainage developments, in Canada on environmental quality are outlined. Flood damage to urban communities located within the flood plain has been controlled by structural measures rather than by enforcement of zoning restrictions. The combined environmental effects of a flood control dam, for example, are complex and relatively unpredictable by ecologists. The environmental problems created by a Canadian dam are cited. Irrigation in the semiarid region of western Canada is on slowly permeable soils that hold a potential for environmental damage through waterlogging and salinization. However, research and experience show that the short growing season and the 7 months of drainage during the fall and winter have prevented damage to the soil environment under existing management practices. The limited surface water quality measurements made to date indicate that irrigation projects.

By A.K. Biswas, J.C. Van Schaik and F.R. Hore. International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage Special Session, Moscow, 1975.

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