Friday, June 20, 2008

Interesting article on Slate.com about flood control

The article talks about why cities continue to use sandbags, (the bags are cheap and voluteers are free, and in Fort Wayne's case we get the bags free from FEMA) and notes a couple of alternatives to sandbags, such as the Rapid Deployment Wall and the Portadam.

The Portadam and the Rapid Deployment Wall work better than sandbags under lab conditions, and are less labor intensive. People are usually happy to help out with sandbagging, but suppose we have a flood at 3am when only Hillary Clinton will answer the phone?* Also, these devices could make floodprone area habitable again so as long as businesses and homes that choose to locate in those area have their own flood control equipment available.

*Sorry, the joke is already dated but I couldn't resist.

3 comments:

Bernie's Dad said...

A "replacement" for sandbags is called the flood management and has been known for millenniums. Sandbags are a poor settler last resort in the absence of prudent community based flood prevention effort.

Robert Enders said...

If this has been known for millenniums, can you tell how it is done, and cite which ancient civilizations have successfully employed it?

Our city has taken preventative measures by demolishing houses that were built in flood plains. The city does try to give the water a place to go, but sometimes the streets still get flooded.

Bernie's Dad said...

Google "ancient flood prevention" as a query key. Here are some results:

Egiptian:
http://touregypt.net/teblog/egyptologynews/?p=2234

Quote from :Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome: sources and topography", page 225:
"The solution ultimately selected to prevent flooding of Rome .. - were well within the ancient Roman's technological ability and could just as well have been constructed in the second century AD". They had a 'democracy' though too and cut corners as well, to get bread and entertainment to their plebs and to engage in needless wars. Does the history needs to repeat itself as a farce?

Many large or small city in France and Italy, traditionally non-repressive, collaborative societies, have terrestrial rain prevention system with tall embankment walls and water control redirection mechanics built often centuries ago to last long.

A few modern large scale ones:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood#Flood_defences.2C_planning.2C_and_management