Floods in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands

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Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,755
780
Cornwall
Hope everyone is OK on your side Oldtimer.
It surprises me that for the last few decades we have seen areas flooded, and when you look at the houses and the surrounding area it is quite obvious that they are in a dangerous area, regarding flooding, all over Europe it isn't unusual to see rivers fast flowing and almost breaking their banks, do they not know that water goes downhill fast, and if the rivers are silted up, there will be trouble, there is a lack of water management both here in the UK and in Europe, water needs to be managed, this may mean more reservoirs.

It's similar to Dawlish and the railway line,, the sea washes it away, and they spend millions trying to fix it, it needs moving away from the erosion of the sea, they built a sea wall and the locals were up in arms. Think back a few years to Boscastle,, water from the moors trying to get to the sea via a stream 3 foot wide, down a steep incline, a recipe for disaster. Picturesque little village, but deadly.

Historically towns were built by the sea for trade, towns by the sea are usually lower than the surrounding land, therefore the water will find a way to the sea, people no longer need to be next to the sea, or next to a river, they no longer fish or trade on water, they get their fish and essentials from a supermarket or on line.
And if you live in a desert area, don't surround your house with trees, as they may burn your house down, and remember water runs down, and fire goes up.

Why are we building houses on flood plains?, they are called flood plains because they retain excess water, and prevent flooding, flooding is a natural thing, but it can be prevented if managed properly. But their excuse for doing nothing is blame it on Climate Change, get the rivers cleared of silt, educate planning committees on where they should allow building to take place, get rid of concrete drives, and car parks, give the earth room to take in the rain, allow it to absorb the danger.
 
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Herman30

Settler
Aug 30, 2015
974
652
55
Finland
Usually I envy people living in mountainous or hilly areas. But now seeing what might happen with a lot of rain as in Germany I´m glad to be living on flat land. Flooding like they have had is not possible here.
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,132
1,006
Vantaa, Finland
The fast flowing flash floods are not really possible, true but one should not forget the some hundreds of sqkms covered with water in some springs, snow melt flooding in areas with too many ditches feeding the water to rivers in very flat areas.
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,655
880
49
Wiltshire
Fadcode, you are right.

Why do we build houses on flood plains? Because people buy them without checking.

We need better water management...and better maintained rivers, as I heard an old fisherman say to me.

Its not like nothing can be done.
 
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TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,132
1,006
Vantaa, Finland
Why do we build houses on flood plains? Because people buy them without checking.

We need better water management...and better maintained rivers, as I heard an old fisherman say to me.
Correct but money has a tendency to override a lot of sensible things ...
 
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Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
238
141
Devon
Hope everyone is OK on your side Oldtimer.
It surprises me that for the last few decades we have seen areas flooded, and when you look at the houses and the surrounding area it is quite obvious that they are in a dangerous area, regarding flooding, all over Europe it isn't unusual to see rivers fast flowing and almost breaking their banks, do they not know that water goes downhill fast, and if the rivers are silted up, there will be trouble, there is a lack of water management both here in the UK and in Europe, water needs to be managed, this may mean more reservoirs.

It's similar to Dawlish and the railway line,, the sea washes it away, and they spend millions trying to fix it, it needs moving away from the erosion of the sea, they built a sea wall and the locals were up in arms. Think back a few years to Boscastle,, water from the moors trying to get to the sea via a stream 3 foot wide, down a steep incline, a recipe for disaster. Picturesque little village, but deadly.

Historically towns were built by the sea for trade, towns by the sea are usually lower than the surrounding land, therefore the water will find a way to the sea, people no longer need to be next to the sea, or next to a river, they no longer fish or trade on water, they get their fish and essentials from a supermarket or on line.
And if you live in a desert area, don't surround your house with trees, as they may burn your house down, and remember water runs down, and fire goes up.

Why are we building houses on flood plains?, they are called flood plains because they retain excess water, and prevent flooding, flooding is a natural thing, but it can be prevented if managed properly. But their excuse for doing nothing is blame it on Climate Change, get the rivers cleared of silt, educate planning committees on where they should allow building to take place, get rid of concrete drives, and car parks, give the earth room to take in the rain, allow it to absorb the danger.

Too many reasons to delve too deeply into, but it's not always as simple as one would think.

Obviously building on flood plains is pretty straightforward - we keep hearing we need affordable housing, the land is cheap, the frequency of flooding is pretty low (for the most part) and as Tengu said, people don't check for themselves and will happily part with their money... (Environment agency has flood maps that anyone can access). So there is no incentive for building companies to stop..

As for water management, v touchy subject with lots of considerations, especially on the river silting side of things (you may be well aware of this, sorry if so.) River silting requires dredging, this then opens up issues with environmentlists and ecologists, damaging habitats for aquatic critters. You then have to consider the environmental impacts of where you dump the silting and the potential impact that could have on the environment where it's offloaded. Then if it's offloaded at sea there are certain requirements for distance from the land. Back to the rivers again, dredging has its own issues and can cause further erosion from the river banks as it encourages the rivers to speed up (in turn this can cause issues for towns and villages down the river which may currently have no flooding problems at all) and again faster flows, erosion etc all things that worry the ecologists etc.

I find the whole thing quite fascinating and Dawlish is a very interesting location with the issues they have there. Unfortunately I guess there are very few ways of solving the whole thing permanently for everyone.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
37,015
2,872
S. Lanarkshire
You can 'engineer' a river to scour out it's own bed though.
Glasgow did it centuries ago. The Clyde was a wide shallow easily fordable river, so, they built bunds into the river from the bank and those trapped silt, and the increased current in the subsequently narrowed channel scoured out the bed.
It was effective enough that ships could come up the river right into the city centre.
The Clyde drains most of Lanarkshire and we're a very wet county with upland moors, etc., The water rises and falls in tune with the rain.
Where I live the Clyde is half a mile away, and right now it's so shallow one can see the fish easily, but when it flushes through with rainwater, the weirs disappear entirely and there's no need for the salmon ladders.

People are very good at manipulating their environment....if they take time to think about it properly....and do some joined up thinking for more than just the bit on their parish.

M
 
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Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
238
141
Devon
You can 'engineer' a river to scour out it's own bed though.
Glasgow did it centuries ago. The Clyde was a wide shallow easily fordable river, so, they built bunds into the river from the bank and those trapped silt, and the increased current in the subsequently narrowed channel scoured out the bed.
It was effective enough that ships could come up the river right into the city centre.
The Clyde drains most of Lanarkshire and we're a very wet county with upland moors, etc., The water rises and falls in tune with the rain.
Where I live the Clyde is half a mile away, and right now it's so shallow one can see the fish easily, but when it flushes through with rainwater, the weirs disappear entirely and there's no need for the salmon ladders.

People are very good at manipulating their environment....if they take time to think about it properly....and do some joined up thinking for more than just the bit on their parish.

M
Very true. I think it's your final point that's the most poignant. I'd assume localised budgets and significance dictate what is done where and who gets what funding and why... We're certainly not all "equals" in this world, as demonstrated by those on the East coast in the various villages which are being left to the mercy of the sea and cliff erosion.

The issue with engineering rivers is the environmental impact that it could have. In China, if they want something done, unfortunately a special type of grass is irrelevant, it's bulldozed out the way. Here we've had air shows cancelled due to certain grass species being found on grass runways... I think a lot of organisations have their hands tied due to hundreds of regulations (rightly or wrongly).
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
37,015
2,872
S. Lanarkshire
Pre war Dorothy L. Sayers wrote the mystery novel, The Nine Tailors, and set it in the Fens.....and even way back then she had her characters discuss the piecemeal approach to the drainage issues. How since the Medieval onwards each parish had dealt with it's own issues and even bringing in the Dutch to build the dykes still left downstream vulnerable to flooding.

It's nothing new, but you'd think by now we'd have realised and gotten a grip :rolleyes:

I think sometimes that an oversight body, not a quango!, of engineers, geographers, geologists, hydrologists, and nature conservancy folks might be a good thing.

Then I think about the arguements ...........
 

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