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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Flood Risk - What can we do now to prevent it?

 Flood in the UK

What is causing the flooding that we have experienced in the past few years?

Global warming or global cooling (whatever we want to call it) is posing a huge problem in terms of rising sea levels. This, in turn leads to the persistence of flooding in areas nearer to rivers and seas, we have seen examples such as the persistent flooding in Gloucestershire in the UK and many other countries experiencing tsunamis and severe flooding.

The current flood risk such areas in the UK are now facing is being caused by heavy snowfall and rain.

How can we manage the flood risk more effectively?

Improve drainage systems - I have observed and inspected several blocked drains in and around London and after a few short bursts of rain, these areas become flooded very easily due to the poor drainage channels in the area.

More trees and conservation of woodland - Conservation and preservation of trees and woodland areas is of paramount importance. Trees and woodland areas provide shade and shelter for us as well as much needed oxygen in the air that we breath. Trees help to absorb excess water and will facilitate in helping to prevent flooding.

How can we be adequately protected from flooding when all the trees and forests are being cut down? How can trees help to protect us when they are being cut down to make room for housing developments? Conservation of wooded/forest areas is important in order to keep the ecological balance.

Trees help to regulate the environment and balance the eco-system by providing us with fresh oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, therefore we need woodland areas to be preserved not sold off to the highest bidder for housing developments etc. This is just common sense to me.

Development and housing in the inner cities is causing a great deal of the green spaces and parks to be turned into concrete areas, this in turn means that there are fewer places with soil and green spaces to soak up, absorb and drain the huge amounts of water deposited during the raining and snowy seasons.

As mentioned above, blocked drains filled with rubbish, leaves and paper will not allow water to escape effectively in the event of heavy rainfall or snow causing low level flooding in general.

Blocked drain full of leaves

Make use of Technology and Architectural building designs - I watched a documentary a few years ago and some of the houses in the USA were built on strong stilts raising them from the ground in order to prevent water entering and damaging the building during a serious flood. These raised buildings in turn would have to be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the pressure and force of the rushing water if there were to be serious flooding. These houses on stilts could be implemented here in the UK at high risk flood areas.

Flood contingency planning - If you live in a flood prone area, have a flood contingency plan on what to do before the floods come in for example the use of sandbags to absorb excess flood water. Also around the UK, we need to have a huge amount of money pumped into sturdy and strong flood defences to protect the United Kingdom from the threat of severe floods.

Flood barriers - The use of sophisticated flood barriers to shield areas that are prone to flooding. This is mainly effective to deflect water where there are rivers, lakes and large bodies of water.

Improve methods of detecting and dispersing flood water in high risk areas - We now have many ways to detect rainfall and adverse weather conditions such as rising tides and sea levels and should be able to predict some types of bad weather including extreme and heavy rainfall as well as a shift in weather patterns that would indicate that we were under attack from a serious flood. In improving our drainage systems and sewers, this would protect us from the threat of short term flooding.

Move water from flood prone areas to drought prone areas.

What can we do to protect the coastline from flooding?

Consideration should be given to the construction of an artificial coastline in flood ravaged areas near to the sea - A few years ago, I watched a documentary on TV where an artificial coastline had been built in a flood prone area. White sand had been shipped in from one of the desert areas and a new coastline built to keep the sea from flooding the seaside town, which had had a receding coastline opening up the threat of a serious flood from the sea.

An artificial coastline combined with high-strength flood barriers will help to keep the water from flooding, drowning and overtaking and burying built-up, populated areas.

Update 26th January 2011

I have been looking at other ways that floods can be prevented and remembered a number of dams that I have read about, one of them being the Aswan dam in Egypt. I think that in flood prone areas, consideration should be given to building a high dam to prevent flooding. Also this water can then be used to service other areas in need of water when shortages occur.

If you have any other flood control tips, leave a comment.

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To be continued.....

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