Cedar Rapids lawmaker pressing for a comprehensive flood prevention bill says legislative remedies won’t be enough to prevent future flood damage in Iowa. Senator Rob Hogg is urging Iowans to join the “million gallon challenge” to help divert rain water this spring. He says planting rain gardens or using rain barrels to collecting the runoff from downspouts can help prevent flooding.
“The legislature has its role, there’s legislation to be passed but we really need all Iowans to participate or else we face more catastrophic flooding in the future,” Hogg says. “And if we don’t change after 2008 I’m not sure what’s going to get us to change.” Officials with the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids recently launched the rain barrel campaign.
Capturing a million gallons of rainwater in barrels wouldn’t have prevented the floods of 2008, but Nature Center officials say it may have prevented last year’s flooding that destroyed two bike trails on the east side of Cedar Rapids. Hogg is helping with the drive to sell a thousand rain barrels in the Cedar Rapids area.
“And so if we can get a thousand people doing this in the Indian Creek watershed and thousands of Iowans across the state participating in one of these ways, we can reduce the peak flood damage and save Iowans thousands if not millions of dollars,” Hogg says.
According to an estimate from the staff at the Indian Creek Nature Center, a thousand rain barrels would keep 65,000 gallons of rain out of waterways during a single rainstorm and, in a “typical” spring or summer, a thousand rain barrels in Iowa would reduce runoff by one million gallons.