Flooding is a major issue in many counties around the world. From modern cities in the US and Europe to the third world impoverished cities around Asia, flooding comes annually and is a major issue.
The urban solutions that you will find in most areas prone to flooding will be excessive stormwater and sewage networks, raised wall and portable dam structures and rezoning of flood-prone areas from residential to park and recreation.
Flooding’s primary effects are a loss of life, loss of property and damage to infrastructure and buildings.
Flooding is also a primary cause of logistic hinderance and can leave many communities as well as individual homeowners isolated without power and fresh water.
Flooded areas are the main cause of disease outbreak, where sewage, dead animals, and fresh water meet and mingle, leading to typhoid, giardia, cryptosporidium, and cholera.
After floods receded, the damage to infrastructure and buildings can be much acuter as water weakens materials used as supports. One of the direct results of flooding after the water recedes is also continued damage to buildings and unsafe roads and bridges. This means that transportation is still a major issue in flood-prone areas.
Secondary and long-term effects
Flooding is the main cause in drop-in tourism, in decline in agriculture and in the death of livestock. The impact on the industry is just as hard, and in many cases, flood prone areas are poor areas, where people tend to shun.
Perhaps two of the most famous flood-prone areas are major cities and tourist attractions, this is primarily due to centuries of engineering evolution on a national level, and they are Holland and Venice.
Handling Flooding on a Personal Level
Since most of us don’t live in either Holland or Venice, we have to consider local and personal options to deal with flooding.
This article will not provide solutions to extreme flooding, which is when a few meters (feet) of water rise up and cover entire areas. What I will be presenting our solutions to flash flooding on a very local level, excess rainwater handling and handling options for buildings that are lower than the outside level. In this case, stopping natural rainwater flow from entering the home.
There is one other flooding issue that many try to contend with and this construction site floods when handling water issues. In many cases, rainwater can accumulate while building, and as such causes stoppages in work. There are solutions to these problems, and since we are not talking about actual flooding, the height that is needed to the barrier is usually less than a foot.
In terms of minor annoyances, garage flooding is a major issue in rainy and snowy locations. In most cases the floor level of the garage and the street level are flush, or the level of the garage is slightly lower. This allows rain and melting snow to seep into garages and flood them during heavy rainstorms. While you won’t be using sandbags or storm barriers, you will be using a very localized type of barrier to prevent low-level flooding from entering your garage.
Watershed Innovations HydraSorber is an 11-foot-long Self-Inflating sand-less bag that Inflates to a height of 4 inches by absorbing fresh water. It is a perfect solution for real flash flooding and natural disasters that involve water.
They are lightweight and easy to deploy. You can stack them up and create a high barrier. The activate when water reaches them, causing their content to expand until it is full. The natural weight of the water causes the bag to dam the area and divert the remaining water around.
These units inflate within 3 minutes of being exposed to water and are an excellent solution for a quick damming in an emergency situation. You can use them in construction sites too.
HydraSorber is covered by a heavy duty Jute and contains eco-friendly, bio-degrading water-absorbing polymer.
Each bag is 11 feet long, making it perfect for covering up garage entrances in one go. They are 8 inches wide and 4 inches in height when full. When they are dry, they weigh less than a pound and when wet weigh over 60lbs.
HydraSorber are also reusable, which makes them an amazing product. You just let them dry out and restore them after use. When you finish using them, which is usually after one season, you just throw them away in the garbage.
HydraSorber is kept in a vacuum sealed package that assures they are completely dry during storage. Once opened you will risk them getting wet from natural humidity.
HydraSorber can be placed on construction sites as well, over cracks in the flooring where water seepage can come up, as well as being used to divert flooding. You can also stack these units to create a higher barrier.
This Is not a flooding barrier per se, it’s more of a water prevention barrier for areas where rainwater can seep into the floor. The Garadry is, in fact, a garage door flood barrier, and it provides a tight seal between the floor and the garage door.
The reason I included it here, is due to its amazing characteristics and the fact that one of the most annoying “flooding” situations are during tropical type storms and heavy snowed areas.
This item can be placed within minutes, is easy to apply and easy to fix in case of wear and tear. It can also be used in just about every area around the house where you need a barrier from invading water.
It is useful for keeping windblown dust off the floor, and when the garage door is closed over it, it acts like a complete seal, that keeps rats and vermin from entering your garage.
It is made from recyclable material, can handle a weight of 4,500 lbs. and acts as a localized minor flood barrier.
A quick guide to Flood Management
How to Prepare For a Flood
If you live in a flood-prone area, then you know that floods are unpredictable. No matter how much pre-warning you get, floods always come with a temperament and always hit you unprepared. This is why its best to prepare aforehand and reduce risk through proper planning and preparation.
Buy Flood Insurance
Make sure you add the flood clause in your insurance policy. In general, this does not appear in most instance schemes, so ask for it. In many flood-prone area’s this is part of the policy, but make sure what the premium rate is and compare different policies.
Living in flood-prone areas demands different planning for buildings and infrastructure. As a general rule of design, flood-prone areas demand that all electrical outlets and HVAC connections re at least 12” off the floor.
Don’t wait for the flood to come, prepare your barriers and have them ready at all times. This means you need to plan the permanent barriers and have to dry storage sufficient disposable or reusable water barriers.
Maintain Dry Flood Proofing
Make sure your property has been properly prepared for flooding. All lower area’s such as basements should be properly sealed with waterproof sealants and checked on a regular basis. If you receive a flood warning, or during seasonal flooding months, have all your sandbag options in place, ready for flash floods.
Remove all items stored in the basement before flooding, you don’t want to lose them all.
Kits at the Last Minute
Maintain three survival kits; a food kit (MRE) Meals ready to eat, a bug-out bag for two people minimum, a camping kit with wet clothing replacements. Make sure you have access to a lot of clean drinking water and turn off your main electricity source.
What to do During a Flood
Once the waters have hit, maintain radio contact via smartphones or other sources and listen to the weather reports and news.
- If possible, leave your home and move to a higher location.
- If you know which areas are prone to flooding, avoid them.
- If you are in an area known for high flooding, own a boat, or dinghy. (not joking)
- Once the floodwaters hit, don’t go near them, currents can be fatal, as well as filthy.
- If you are stuck in the area, try to evacuate at the earliest possible opportunity.
Recovering from a Flood
Once the flood waters have receded, and the damage is done, its time to go back home and review the situation. This is when you will be happy you had insurance, and that is the first thing you are going to do after you get back home:
- Contact Your Insurance Company, take photos of all the damage, a video also helps;
- Enter the site with caution and check for infrastructure issues. Do not run on the electricity, do not turn on the gas. Check them all and get a professional electrician to open the electricity;
- Remove all the wet cloth and wooden furniture and bring out to dry. Take into account that mold sets in within 24 to 48 hours, so be prepared to replace all your fixed carpeting as well;
- Wash every clothing item well, the flood waters were contaminated with filth and disease from sewage and dead animal carcasses;
- Ventilate your home, make sure you leave all the openings open to allow the house to dry out. You should invest in some heavy-duty driers too, and place one in each room;
- In basement level rooms you will need to employ a pump to clear out the water. Make sure that these rooms are totally cleared of water;
- After you have removed all the water and dried your home, you will need a lot of odor eaters, since the smell of continuous drying will continue to pervade your home for a few weeks, sometimes months. Use de-humidifiers to help totally dry out the rooms. You will need to place these units in the basement as well as the rest of the house.