Flooding caused a Christmas nightmare for many people last year, and few can find much positive to say about the washout winter of 2013. That time of year has arrived again and people are already checking the tide times and weather forecasts religiously in order to make sure they are prepared if the worst should happen. One of the only good things that came out of the horrendous conditions of last year is that a few lessons should have been learned.
One of the major lessons is that it is now known that concrete walls and river dredging is not the answer to preventing flooding. This actually creates faster flowing water channels and there are now increased moves towards returning these channels into the slow water systems they used to be.
There is also an increasing understanding that humans will have to start relinquishing some of the land they grabbed back to the sea. Salt marshes on the coast, for example, will provide better protection for coastal homes by draining energy from the waves.
There are now better warning systems in place to alert people to the risk of floods. It is inevitable that flooding will continue and so this is vital to minimise the damage caused. There is also no doubt that people who have experienced flooding once, or have witnessed the devastation it can cause, are more likely to invest in their own flood prevention improvements and to plan in advance what they would do in the event of a flood.
Last year’s floods caused more than £1 billion worth of damage to infrastructure, businesses and homes, so it is hoped that those in power now understand that cutting back on flood defence budgets is actually false economy. It is estimated that for every £1 spent on defence schemes, £8 in savings will be made in the long run.