Causes and consequences of floods

How floods arise, what are they and what can we do about it?

Causes floods

Causes floods

Extreme weather with heavy rainfall, combined with high seawater can cause major problems. “Room for the river” is widely appreciated in Europe. This means, that when extreme amounts of water flow through the rivers, storing the excessive water in rural areas like retention basins and floodplains.

Some countries like the Netherlands have parts of the country that lie below sea level. Through centuries of battle against water the Netherlands has developed a tremendously well and reliable protection system of dikes and barriers. The Netherlands herein is an example for many other countries. Dutch water experts are also often sent abroad for advice and help with flood protection.

In particular in recent years we’ve experienced a lot of floods. Think back to 2013-2014 when Germany had to deal with heavy flooding. And during these years England also had a lot of problems with flooding. Sometimes the water was up to their waists for months.

A flood is a natural disaster which can affect the well-being of man. Usually, at least once a year, high water or flooding occurs in the rivers by melting snow from the mountains and/or extreme rainfall. In some cases, the water is too much and dikes can no longer cope with the amount of water and will overflow. This happens all over the world, Bangladesh is one of the countries in Asia where every year during the raining season, millions of people become homeless. But the floods also bring fertile silt, thus benefiting agriculture by fertile soil.

Obviously, there are more causes of flooding, some of them caused by man. Causes such as deforestation, global warming and construction in locations where there should actually be space for water. All in all, there are a lot of factors that cause flooding. It is also often a combination of multiple factors.

The sandbag has played a role in flood protection for years. Nowadays, more and more new initiatives unfold that can eliminate the sandbag. The Tube Barrier is an innovation that may well eliminate the sandbag.

Climate change and floods

Climate change depicted in a small graph. Clearly visible is the increase in flooding. In the future floods will only be more common.

Flashflood

This event is like the word already mentioned a very rapid flood. It is a sudden and destructive rush of water down a narrow gully or stream or over a sloping surface. There is not much that can withstand a flashflood, it comes and goes so fast that there is hardly any time to react.

Tsunami

Tsunami; also known as “seismic sea wave” are most often generated by seismic activity such as earthquakes on the seabed. This creates a tidal wave which is incredibly high and forceful. A wall of water followed by a huge mass of water. This unfortunately this usually causes lots of deaths and injuries.