A year on…
Could technology protect us from floods in future?
It’s been just over a year since Cumbria was hit, once again, by catastrophic floods.
But can technology protect us from floods in future, and allow us to better defend against the rising tides?
What’s causing the problem?
While the floods of 2005 were unexpected, Carlisle is now resigned to the risk of flooding -and we’re going to have to get used to it. The huge catchment area of the Eden means much of Carlisle is at risk
The deforestation, over grazing, and building on flood plains have all reduced the capacity of the land to soak back up all the water thrown at it. The cumulative impact of these things has taken a while to show, but now fate has caught up with us.
What are we doing about it?
It certainly ain’t getting any better for a long time. Houses in Warwick Road are being repaired with many of the same vulnerabilities.
Even if we were to replant the forests tomorrow, it would take at least four or five decades to make a measurable difference.
So instead we see rather pathetic attempts to address the issue, such as shoring up the failing flood barriers with more rocks, which usually just displaces the problem.
How do we protect ourselves?
The critical thing is the right information at the right time. You need to know the general vulnerability of your property, and how to protect it. Then we need to sign up for warnings so we can prepare – move our electronics and precious possessions upstairs, lay sandbags, turn off our drain valves, and generally lessen the impact.
The Environment Agency offers flood information advice and service you can sign up for to get alerts on your phone – something I advise everyone to do immediately.
All business owners need to revise their disaster plans more often – ideally once a quarter. In a single year the turnover of staff may mean the right people can no longer be expected to be in the right place when catastrophe’s happen.
Ultimately there’s no high tech solution – unfortunately it’s the boring detailed stuff that makes the difference, allowing us to keep informed and act fast, because flooding is something we’re all just going to have to get used to.