Methods of flood prevention

Humans cannot stop the rains from falling or stop flowing surface water from bursting its banks. These are natural events, but we can do something to prevent them from having a great impact. Here are a few.

A sea defence wall can help prevent coastal floods during high tides
A sea defence wall can help prevent coastal floods during high tides

Sea / Coastal Defence Walls
Sea walls and tide gates have been built in some places to prevent tidal waves from pushing the waters up ashore. In some areas too, sandbags are made and placed in strategic areas to retain floodwaters.

Retaining walls
In some places, retaining walls levees, lakes, dams, reservoirs, or retention ponds have been constructed to hold extra water during times of flooding.

Town planning
Builders must acquire permission before buildings are erected. That will ensure that waterways are not blocked. Also, drainage systems must be covered and kept free from objects that chock them. This way, water can quickly run through if it rains and minimizes any chance of town flooding. Drainage systems should also be covered to prevent litter from getting into them.

Trees, shrubs, and grass help protect the land from erosion by moving water. People in low-lying areas must be encouraged to use a lot of vegetation to help break the power of moving flood water and also help reduce erosion.

In many developing countries, drainage systems are chocked with litter and people have little knowledge of the effects that can have during rain. When it rains, waterways and culverts are blocked by massive chunks of litter and debris, and water finds its way into the streets and people’s homes. Education is therefore very important, to inform and caution people about the dangers of floods, what causes floods, and what can be done to minimize its impact.

Detention basin
These are small reservoirs built and connected to waterways. They provide temporary storage for floodwaters. This means in an event of flooding, water is drained into the basin first, giving people more time to evacuate. It can also reduce the magnitude of downstream flooding.