With the recent Somerset flood leaving behind total devastation, many people are left wondering- what can be done to prevent similar events happening in the future?
When it comes to this year’s flood, the help came from the Netherlands.
13 high-capacity water pumps were brought in from the country in efforts to reduce water levels in the affected areas.
It took a lot of work to remove the water and it will take months, if not years, for the people of Somerset to rebuild their lives and return to normal.
So what is the solution? Can anything be done to reduce the risk of an event like that happening again?
Earlier this week George Osborne announced an expected extra budget of £140 million for flood defence. But is that enough, or does something else have to be done?
A possible solution comes all the way from New Orleans, Louisiana. After the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city back in 2005, many changes were made to the city’s drainage system.
One of them was the construction of The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex, which consists of:
- a navigable floodgate
- a pumping station
- an earthen levee
The pumping station has the power to move 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools every minute and is considered one of the world’s largest water pumps.
It is protected by 32-foot- tall, 225-foot-wide steel gates, which reach the river’s bottom and are able to withstand a 16-foot storm surge. The construction of the complex cost around $1 Billion and took over three years to complete.
In 2012 the project operated for the first time in response to Hurricane Isaac.
New Orleans is known for is drainage system.
Since the central portion of the city is completely surrounded by water, drainage has been a major concern ever since the city was founded.
With the recent change in climate and the wettest winter on record, the UK is becoming more prone to floods.
Some people believe that the solution to tackling the problem could be found by looking at cities like New Orleans and their drainage systems.
At the moment the UK isn’t used to extreme floods but if what happened in Somerset becomes a widespread issue in the near future, we may have to revise the entire flood defence system.
Are water pumping stations the answer?
So are giant water pumping stations the answer? Perhaps, but is it possible to build one here in the UK? It’s definitely something worth looking into but at the cost of $1 Billion it is very unlikely we’ll be seeing one any time soon.
For the time being, the government is trying to tackle the problem by providing the victims with all the necessary support. Some of the victims however are not pleased and argue that not enough is being done at the moment.