Climate Change: Preparing (or not!) (or not enough!) for Water

As near-daily rain storms continue to flop down on this part of the midwest, our little two-home urban farmstead’s half-constructed designs for how to hold and recirculate excess water feel increasingly inadequate. The pond (which three down spouts drain into) backs up towards the DeKist house. The rain seeps downhill from the neighbor to the north. The soil, utterly saturated, can’t hold any extra moisture. It seeps into Overhill house basement at several points, seeps under the DeKist house, which wasn’t built high enough off the ground. Fans going everywhere, feel futile. The larger gutters and drain pipes don’t help, because, thanks to all the rain, it’s become obvious that we need at least one more drain pipe. On and on.

Multiply that by millions, scale it up and down.

Realize: we’re all in this, WHATEVER this is, together.


This morning, between storms, water going into east end of pond has receded only somewhat. Another storm expected in about an hour.


Overflow at west end of pond has drained between storms to the point where the picnic table area no longer inundated.

Ready or Not: How water-ready is your state or city?

As carbon pollution continues to change our climate, these wide-ranging impacts will only grow worse, threatening our nation’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

  • Increased Annual Precipitation
  • Decreased Annual Precipitation
  • Water Supply Challenges
  • More Frequent and Intense Storm Events
  • Increased Flooding
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Increased Erosion
  • Saltwater Intrusion
  • Aquatic/Marine Species

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3 Responses to Climate Change: Preparing (or not!) (or not enough!) for Water

  1. laurabruno says:

    You’ve probably already thought of this, but just in case not: could you plant a rain garden near the houses? Some of those plants will really suck up the water. I wouldn’t suggest willow so close, as that creates its own issues with plumbing, but what about other rain garden standby’s?

    • Good idea. Many of our plots already function as rain gardens. Part of the problem is the old basketball court in my back yard, which rain runs off of, and we’ve only jackhammered part of it out. Our rain gutter will have to discharge onto that, so no rain garden until more of the concrete is gone. Of course we also have French drains next to the concrete, etc.

      Peter and Keith, permaculture teachers who have a well thought-out permaculture design for their property, designed it so that all rain water goes the other way from all sides of their house. But, Keith told me the other day, the sump pump under the house still runs! THAT’s how much water we’re dealing with here.

      • laurabruno says:

        Wow, that’s a LOT of water! Something else to consider: our friends in Elkhart have on their adjoining properties what used to be a huge parking lot. They got the city to donate a 2-3 feet of wood mulch covering on top of the asphalt. Then they put down a huge layer of city compost and then added mulch on top of that. They’re farming shorter rooted crops directly in that area. I wonder if you could do something like that, since the mulch is a great water regulator. Eventually, they will have incredibly rich soil there, too, as all the wood mulch and compost break down, but they keep it deep so as not to have root contact with the asphalt.

        Anyway, just an idea …

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