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Thread: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Thinking about it, how many neolithic farm sites get flooded in Ireland ? When did we lose our minds ?

    https://www.google.ie/search?q=neoli...w=1600&bih=789
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  2. #32
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Is there actually such a thing as a ''Natural Flood Defence?'' If there was there'd be no natural floods.
    Happiness is an inside job.

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    I was just reading in the UK Independent that this is being tried and is working. Holding ponds, but also lightweight timber dams. Not quite sure how those work. And tree planting on the hills.
    Thanks Cass. I lived in Manchester UK 1953 when the river Irwell flooded as it had done previously, but more severely in the past . In the 1970s they took a severe bend from the river by landfill. Just recently the river overflowed again! A very large sink hole would have been helpful.

    In an insurance building in the centre of Manchester a bricklayer and I dug a sump hole and installed a pump to prevent spring water flooding the basement as it had been doing time and again.
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  4. #34
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    I'm not as pessimistic as you about prospects for better management.

    After all, it can't get much worse.

    There is tree-planting and tree planting. Uniform sitka spruce, with no field breaks / barriers, and with regular clear felling, may well be a problem - I just don't know. But there is plenty of good research to rely on.

    As for rural Ireland - the spinners have decided that it doesn't carry General Election results any more.
    Well pointed out. The vast majority of Irelands mere 10% cover of forestry is non-native conifers. I worked in forestry for a number of years and every site is prepared beforehand with extensive drainage systems to bring the water away. As you mention these sites then end up clearfelled when harvested resulting in more huge run-off.

    These rain events aside a hydrological study of the Shannon floodplain in the 1990s found that river flood incidence and extent increased over a 40 year period yet there was no statistically significant corresponding increase in rainfall in the same period.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Trow View Post
    Is there actually such a thing as a ''Natural Flood Defence?'' If there was there'd be no natural floods.
    Haha...good point. I suppose you could say allowing natural features to mitigate against flooding.

    As Saoirse says...river's have natural floodplains but unfortunately we have drained on most of our river's.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaadi View Post
    There's a lot of simplistic and happy clappy let the animals run free talk about the current flooding.

    It's a deeply complex problem. There is no shortage of civil engineers, heavy and light earth moving machinery and general technical know how and money in the country.

    What there is is a very complex web of Govt inertia and planning bans on interfering with the existing natural environment and European legislation preventing the destruction of special conservation areas. If a community decide they want to crank up the diggers, build some levees and lay down some concrete to prevent flooding they simply won't be let do it.

    This country is full of people who worked in construction. Levees, poured concrete walls and drainage would be child's play to them. Also the Govt are apparently flush with money after practically eliminating the deficit ( clever accounting ) and 5-6% growth rates+ lies

    Back to the flooding, it's the rainfall and what to do with it that's the problem. In some areas like the Shannon it would simply be a matter of building walls and levees. There would be many many miles to be sorted out, it's quite doable financially and technically.In the areas where there are metres high of practically flash flooding it's a whole lot less possible to get on top of potential flooding. We simply seem to be getting more intense rainfall events that are extremely unpredictable in where and when they'll hit. Look at Europe itself, every year flooding just overwhelms many many areas that have had the resources to plan ahead if planning ahead had been practical.

    Getting through the political, environmental and planning restrictions would require a political will not yet seen.

    We have the worst possible Govt in place ATM as regards being willing to invest in protecting communities, so it will take some considerable time for the political will to exist to sort out what is sortable.



    Building flood walls works, some of the worst towns for flooding in the past survived the recent flooding because a mixture of temporary flood barriers and permanent flood walls worked. In some areas the flooding has now exceeded reasonably newly constructed flooding defenses. Our climate is changing and we will have to respond to that whether we want to or not, the personal and financial hardships the flooding cause will eventually spark actions to tackle it.


    I would think myself that we will see a huge push to plant mountainsides to try and stem the water flow. I don't think it will make a huge difference and our current Govt is in thrall to the windfarm industries who are intent on ripping up the mountains and countryside to build windfarms on a truly mega scale. There are a lot of stakeholders behind the scenes here.
    There's nothing simplistic about it and the happy clappy stuff is backed up with scientific evidence.

    Let's hope the civil engineers who engineered us into building on floodplains and arterial drainage scheme's are as good at building flood defences and levees. No doubt they'll get a nice cheque anyway...every cloud though and GDP will increase so everyone's a winner.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Forgive my igornance re the intricacies of flood and their mechanisms, i noticed that lot of newbuild/new estates around the countries were flooded in contrast to the old estates which didn't affect them much. What i'm referring to the fact was that the builders/architects/engineers/councils didn't plan nor take into account in regards to now & future flooding when designing a house or an estate and it's surrounding areas and their history of flood so forth.

    A flood planning act is needed in regard to design of any house and their surrounding areas with flood plan in order to tackle the problem which may force the local authorities to act as it's the local authorities problem after all.

    Hence they had passed and granted thousands of planning permissions to various builders/architect/engineers for decades et al without addressing it to life long problem of flood recurrence and future flood planning in respect of rising water levels etc.

    Enniscorthy had been flooded umpteen times since 1950 as i was told but no political will exists since 1950 was taken to tackle this life long flood problem in Ennniscorthy town.

    El Nino is all the rage this year which might explain the upheaval of the floods here and UK as well.
    Last edited by disability student; 03-01-2016 at 11:44 PM.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Last week the fish pond in my back garden overflowed because of the very heavy rainfall. The first time in more than twenty years. I would usually have to top it up periodically from the tap.

    The man made reservoir near Blessington in Wicklow has been a great success. There is plenty of room for an extension. Can an excellent idea be ignored for long?
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  9. #39
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    Well pointed out. The vast majority of Ireland's mere 10% cover of forestry is non-native conifers. I worked in forestry for a number of years and every site is prepared beforehand with extensive drainage systems to bring the water away. As you mention these sites then end up clearfelled when harvested resulting in more huge run-off.

    These rain events aside a hydrological study of the Shannon floodplain in the 1990s found that river flood incidence and extent increased over a 40 year period yet there was no statistically significant corresponding increase in rainfall in the same period.
    Very interested in that, a link pmd or on the thread would be appreciated if available.

    On the rainfall - I would be interested to know if we are getting more intense bursts of rainfall in small areas, or if this is just natural variance thathe we have become more conscious of because of awareness of the possibility of climate change.

    What you say about forestry practice is alarming - but if it is a factor in faster run off, it would be something easy enough to rectify in the medium term, by changing practice in design of drainage and in felling patterns.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  10. #40
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    The Guardian in 2014 said Ireland was interested in following the Netherlands very pro-Urban scheme of shifting rural people from their homes to create new flood plains for growing cities.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...ng-netherlands
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  11. #41
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    The Guardian in 2014 said Ireland was interested in following the Netherlands very pro-Urban scheme of shifting rural people from their homes to create new flood plains for growing cities.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...ng-netherlands
    People may need to relocate away from areas that flood on a regular basis, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
    http://m.independent.ie/irish-news/t...-34327807.html

    That seems to be the plan and is exactly the kind of like it or lump it attitude that FG in particular are driven by. It's less hassle to just let the floods happen and tell people they're on their own but here's a tiny bit of help if ye are willing to go away.

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaadi View Post
    http://m.independent.ie/irish-news/t...-34327807.html

    That seems to be the plan and is exactly the kind of like it or lump it attitude that FG in particular are driven by. It's less hassle to just let the floods happen and tell people they're on their own but here's a tiny bit of help if ye are willing to go away.
    It's the laisser unfair system.

    (ouch!)
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
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  13. #43
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    There's nothing simplistic about it and the happy clappy stuff is backed up with scientific evidence.

    Let's hope the civil engineers who engineered us into building on floodplains and arterial drainage scheme's are as good at building flood defences and levees. No doubt they'll get a nice cheque anyway...every cloud though and GDP will increase so everyone's a winner.
    The decisions to build on flood plains were political, the flood maps are there for centuries and the planners would have been quite happy to tell people they couldn't build there if their masters had let them do so.

    By simplistic I'm talking of urban notions that the countryside can just be altered massively in a hey presto manner. There are many stakeholders, there is a huge amount of cost involved both socially and financially in reordering the countryside.

    Mass plantation of mountainous and marshy areas is an interesting possibility, the effectiveness of it is worth looking into as is the potential economy benefit or otherwise of it. I don't know whether moving away from conifers is practical or necessary.

    What I would point out is that this recent flooding came immediately after an Indian summer period in November where the water tables were unnaturally low for the time of year and the ground was far less saturated than it would normally be at time of the year.


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    These 2 photos of the Shannon in the centre of Athlone were taken only a few weeks apart and in the first picture the Shannon is as low as it gets after a remarkably dry period.

    I don't think that kind of rainfall in such a short period is likely to come up against a better water retaining environment on the land it ran off than it did this time and look what happened..



    What irked me was another site where some eejit was reckoning the farmers could damn up their fields for the winter and just let the water off in the run up to the summer, not realising that the land everywhere is saturated in the winter flooding period.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    There's was a good piece in Saturdays UK Independent by Geoffrey Lane about a Yorkshire town that was deemed too small to avail of flood defence funding, so instead, through a combination of working with the surrounding landscape and some novel engineering ideas managed to stay bone dry while other places were flooded.

    Stuck at the bottom of a steep gorge draining much of the North Yorks Moors, it was flooded four times between 1999 and 2007, with the last disaster doing £7 million of damage.

    The solution, its people were officially told, would to be build a £20 million concrete wall through the centre of town to keep the water in the river. No-one thought it was ideal: it would have impaired Pickering’s attraction for tourism. But then they were told that they could not have it anyway since too few people would be protected to satisfy the cost-benefit analysis for such schemes enforced on the Environment Agency by the Treasury.

    At that point – as Mike Potter, chairman of the Pickering and District Civic Society puts it – the townspeople were “spitting feathers” and decided to take matters into their own hands. Hearing from a local environmentalist how the moors had traditionally released rainwater much more slowly – and of how, centuries ago, monks at nearby Byland Abbey had built a bund to hold it back – they decided to try to go back to the future.

    They got together with top academics from Oxford, Newcastle and Durham Universities to examine all options. Much the best plan turned out indeed to be to try to recreate past conditions by slowing the flow of water from the hills. Impressed by the intellectual endorsement, official bodies like the local councils, the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and even the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, joined in.

    They built 167 leaky dams of logs and branches – which let normal flows through but restrict and slow down high ones – in the becks above the town; added 187 lesser obstructions, made of bales of heather and fulfilling the same purpose, in smaller drains and gullies; and planted 29 hectares of woodland. And, after much bureaucratic tangling, they built a bund, to store up to 120,000 cubic metres of floodwater, releasing it slowly through a culvert.

    After 24 hours of rain, just three months after it was inaugurated, Mr Potter climbed up to the scheme and found it working well. Then he went home, “switched on the TV, and saw the all the floodwaters elsewhere”. He adds: “While there was devastation all over northern England, our newly completed defences worked a treat and our community got on with life as normal.” The total cost, he says, was around £2m, a 10th that of the original wall which, he believes, would not have coped with the Boxing Day conditions anyway.
    Such schemes are not the whole solution. Sarah Whatmore, Professor of Environment and Public Policy at Oxford University – who led the academic work in Pickering – says they will often be of most benefit to small communities who do not qualify for more expensive interventions.

    And certainly the government should do more to build conventional defences. It is a scandal that both it, and the conservative-led coalition, should have cut spending on them – despite promises – including postponing schemes, as in Kendal and Leeds, that could have cut December’s devastation.
    And much more is going to be needed as climate change takes hold. A study, published last week by Oxford University and the Royal Netherlands Metereological Institute, found that global warming made the floods caused by Storm Desmond last month some 40 per cent more likely. Scientists agree they will increase as the world heats up.

    We should also stop making ourselves more vulnerable. Half the houses built in Britain in the last 60 years have been plonked onto floodplains, and twice as many are still being built on them as elsewhere.
    So, despite the mythology, it is destroying nature that causes floods, while protecting it prevents them. The much-touted dredging can be useful in some places, but generally makes things worse by speeding up river flow and causing more trouble downstream. And it is only removing silt produced upstream from soil erosion that should be prevented in the first place.

    Many small scale-efforts are being made, as at Pickering. Blocking ditches in Montgomeryshire has increased the water holding capacity of a 1,100 hectare catchment area by 155 million litres. Restoring Devon’s Culm grasslands, by the local Wildlife Trust, quintupled the land’s water retention. But natural flood protection needs to happen on a national scale – as it has in the Netherlands the very home of the dyke, for two decades.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a6794286.html

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Very interested in that, a link pmd or on the thread would be appreciated if available.

    On the rainfall - I would be interested to know if we are getting more intense bursts of rainfall in small areas, or if this is just natural variance thathe we have become more conscious of because of awareness of the possibility of climate change.

    What you say about forestry practice is alarming - but if it is a factor in faster run off, it would be something easy enough to rectify in the medium term, by changing practice in design of drainage and in felling patterns.
    Aljosja Hooijer is a Dutch hydrologist but I've only ever seen the hardcopy in the university library but here's a link for the details
    http://www.worldcat.org/title/floodp...oclc/221911289

    His conclusion was that the huge tracts of raised bogs that had been drained in the midlands region was primarily to blame.

    On the forestry issue, yes it would, but a gradual change in species will probably be needed as Sitka spruce does not tolerate water logging, eventually resulting in death, hence the need for drainage. It is also a very shallow rooting species, so a combination of a water logged root-plate and wind means that it would be flattened in a storm.

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