Covid-19 seems not to be the only concern in 2021. The impacts of climate change are worrying many people around the world as we watch effects like drought, floods, and heatwaves striking everywhere. Whether you like playing in a sizzling hot or live in the coldest part on earth, climate change is certain to have affected you in one way or another.
There have been unprecedented levels of flooding in several countries. The record-breaking floods in Germany, for instance, have taken many by surprise, including scientists. These extreme floods have damaged homes, businesses, infrastructure and devastated the lives of many people in Germany. Experts believe that the increase in floods could be connected to climate change. Research shows that a warmer atmosphere stores more moisture, which means heavy rains that can cause waterways to overflow. The loss of lives in Germany due to floods has been a wake-up call to the government.
According to the survivors, the worst-hit areas were caught unprepared. Besides Germany, floods have hit other areas, including New York, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Detroit. Cities are more likely to flood easily than other areas since the parking lots, streets, and buildings are impermeable. This means that water cannot be absorbed into the ground as it would in a forest area. But what are countries and cities doing to help prevent floods and protect themselves from such calamities? Below is a quick overview of how cities are trying to prevent floods in their urban areas.
Space for Nature
Instead of building infrastructure all over the city, some engineers think that it is a good idea to take advantage of nature to keep excess water at bay. For instance, Netherlands is working on a project called “Room for the River”. As its name implies, this program encompasses the Waal, the Ijssel, the Meuse, and the Rhine rivers. This plan is used to deepen and widen the beds of the mentioned rivers so that they can protect the cities and areas nearby from flooding.
Additionally, flood-prone structures were removed, extra storage basins and additional water channels were created. In case water levels rise, then agricultural areas will be flooded intentionally, but with the help of local farmers. According to a natural-flood solutions expert, he does not doubt that this project has kept the country away from the disastrous floods that were experienced in the neighbouring countries.
In China, sponge parks are increasingly becoming more popular, whereby urban farms and irrigating gardens soak up the excess water. Other areas are following suit with the West Gordon Park in Manchester, for example, helping to prevent flooding through absorbing the floodwaters and releasing them in the sewer systems gradually rather than all of it at once.
This new climate-resilient project is nicknamed “The Park that drinks water”, was opened in June 2020 and is part of the GrowGreen initiative. The park was designed with the local people, especially the elderly and school-going children, in mind. It not only helps protect the city from floods but also acts as a place to relax and play.
These are just examples of what cities are doing to prevent floods. Other towns are looking forward to installing features like rain gardens and storm ponds to help control urban flooding.