Flood Control, Part 1: Building Barriers

We saw last week how floods happen. Now let’s take a look at the major methods of flood control.

Barriers are the first thing people instinctively turn to when they see a flood, no matter what its size.

Tremble at my mighty foot, puny rain river!  Morguefile/hotblack
Tremble at my mighty foot, puny rain river! Morguefile/hotblack

For 5,000 years, we have been raising permanent or temporary barriers to manage areal, coastal, or riverine flooding that’s extensive enough to endanger homes, property, and lives.

And then there are those among us who stand on the seashore, looking out over the ocean and thinking, “What a waste of really good land…”

(Note: I don’t know who Ernest Kleinberg was, but this 30-minute 1950s or 1960s film is both informative and enjoyable to watch.)

Next week, we’ll look at how people manage rivers to control flooding. Then we’ll wrap up this three-part series with brief looks at how flooding is managed in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Jackson, Mississippi; and London, England.


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