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The Dixie Deluge

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Citizen response to last week’s flooding throughout Washington County provides a vivid reminder of human resilience during natural disasters.

The sight of scores of volunteers working together to fill sandbags and otherwise coalesce for the common good was inspiring. It was reminiscent of 1983 when the citizenry responded during extensive flooding along the Wasatch Front and demonstrated once again how well Utahns collectively cope with adversity.

As well, what happened in the St. George area offers important lessons for those who choose to develop and build in geologically historic floodplains. Society should never overlook the fact that the laws of nature dictate where water flows. Dams and diversions can be built, of course, for reclamation and recreation. And they provide a certain sense of security . . . until the elements have their say.

The sight of homes, seemingly built in “safe areas,” being swept away should become imprinted in our minds. Especially, it should give local planning commissions throughout the state pause for thought as they face pressure from eager and influential developers to approve subdivisions in questionable areas.

Certainly, the Dixie deluge of 2005 will be a lasting memory for the people who experienced it. In KSL’s view, it should also become a catalyst for realistic community planning since no one can predict when or where the next 100-year phenomenon will hit.

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