Water erosion occurs when soil material detaches and shifts. Rain, running river water, waves, irrigation, and snowmelt can all wear away the Earth’s surface.
Whether caused by human activity or by natural elements, water erosion can cause serious problems. What are the negative effects?
1. Property Loss
As water displaces the soil, it also recedes property lines. This can create major problems, especially for coastal homes.
Rising sea levels cause waves to crash against soil that once remained dry and stable. This coastal erosion costs about $500 million in annual property loss. It also leaves people without vehicles, homes, and belongings.
While rushing flood water can cause wear away the soil, water erosion can also lead to more flooding. It creates a damaging cycle.
Soil naturally absorbs water from rainfall, keeping much of it in the ground and distributing it to plant life. As soil detachment occurs, it can no longer soak up the water, causing flash floods.
When foundation erosion occurs, it washes particles into bodies of running water, like rivers and streams. As the soil material settles, sedimentation occurs.
This reduces the depth of the water, changes the way it flows, and potentially clogs up the waterway. This can hinder transportation on the waterway.
4. Destruction of Habitats
As the water fills with sediment, it changes the habitat of living things. This negatively impacts both plants and animals.
Natural vegetation may die off in murky water since it blocks out sunlight. With dark waters, the animals cannot see their food.
Eventually, this affects the ecosystem on a large scale. The entire food chain gets disrupted as plants and animals die off and others grow out of control.
5. Health Hazards
The runoff of soil into the waterways poses a risk to human health as well. The soil may contain human and animal waste, salt, pesticides, chemicals, litter, and other harmful things.
This can make waterways unsafe for swimming. Even worse, it can potentially contaminate drinking water, affecting the water supply that people count on.
Ways to Prevent Water Erosion
You cannot stop the forces of nature like rain and water flow. But, you can prevent water erosion in a number of ways.
Landscape using rocks to prevent erosion. Decorative rocks will look nice and reduce erosion as they do not easily wear away like soil.
Planting trees and shrubs will also help. Their roots will absorb a good amount of rainfall, preventing excess downpour from wreaking havoc.
You may also take measures to contain some of the rainfall or runoff. You may find rain barrels and retaining walls useful.
Prevent Water Erosion and Stand on Steady Ground
Water erosion can make life unsteady. If you live in a high-risk area, take a proactive approach to prevent soil displacement, so you can stand on steady ground.
We want to help you keep your homestead safe and looking beautiful. Check out more landscaping tips on our website!