Municipalities often play a role in crisis situations. Here are three ways they control floodwaters during unfortunate events.
Floodwaters are often the result of a force of nature. Technology helps prevent and reduce the damage of heavy water movement. It’s easy to think that all a municipality needs is an army of good pumps to battle flooding. There’s much more to it.
A reactive approach only controls flood events after they occur. The best way for municipalities to approach floodwater control is to focus on three interrelated preventative actions.
Why do we live in flood plains
Flood control is a challenge for many cities. Floodwaters cause physical property damage, but they also threaten public health by contaminating local water quality. The obvious solution to avoid this harm is to avoid development in areas prone to floods.
So, why do we live in places that are prone to flooding in the first place?
Low lying flood plains have always been attractive places to settle and build. The fertile soil grows crops, and rivers provide navigation routes to carry goods. It’s why many large cities are located in flood plains.
A combined approach
Municipalities can diminish or even prevent damage from floodwater by taking a three-pronged approach.
1. Control the water
2. Control the land
3. Take mitigation measures
Control the water
These are actions a municipality undertakes to make physical alterations to areas prone to flooding.
- Dams, retention basins, and reservoirs store excessive water and gradually release it after the threat passes.
- Floodwalls and levees confine floodwaters to a floodway, reducing or preventing damage.
- Watershed treatment helps land absorb or channel floodwater. Terracing, contouring and even plants accomplish this. It also beautifies public areas.
These actions may not be enough. A municipality should also be prepared to use water pumps to assist in dewatering flooded areas.
Control the land
Land use policies enacted by municipalities are a strategic measure that prevents future flooding events.
- Floodways must be identified. Construction in these areas should be prohibited to prevent obstruction of the water flow during floods.
- Use the legal power of zoning to control development of areas that are prone to flooding. It’s a protective measure for safety, and it saves municipalities money.
- Be diligent about subdivision planning. Noncompliance of grading, draining, and elevation increases with subdivision development.
These are preventative measures. Floodwaters are often unexpected. They’re caused when water and land control practices are overwhelmed. An emergency standby plan using mechanical means for dewatering must be a part of any strategy.
Flood protection has to be a unified effort. It must go beyond what the municipalities themselves can do. The work has to be pushed out to business owners and citizens.
- Businesses and homeowners must be induced to modify or retrofit buildings to handle flood events.
- Invest in flood alert systems that can warn populations about floodwaters.
- Increase budgets to control storm water runoff and other situations that contribute to floodwaters.
- Create self-help advice to property owners so they can participate in floodwater control.
Part of the Equation
Floodwater control for municipalities starts as a proactive measure. Most flood events are unpredictable. It’s necessary to be prepared to react as well.
Municipal officials responsible for flood control must work with industry specialists to ensure that there are sufficient resources available to handle floodwater emergencies. In most floodwater events, a massive amount of water has to be moved. The correct pumps and equipment can save property and reduce the cost to the municipality.
Traditional lineshaft pumps have proven to be the most efficient technology to pump large quantities of water. These pumps connect the impeller to the drive by means of a long shaft. Diesel or electric motors power lineshaft pumps. They are powerful, affordable investments for municipalities.
Management and action
Floodwater control is a balance of what you can prevent, and what you can control. A growth and safety management plan helps municipalities prepare. The right flood control equipment completes the loop of protection.