Wet Christmas

Today is the first day of many we have not woken to rain.  Thankfully we are in a house on a rise, built back in the 19th Century when the Victorians had the good sense not to build houses on lands prone to flooding.

Spare a thought for the 8,000 people in the UK who are without power.  Red flood warnings are in place from Wales all the way to northern Scotland.  My uncle in Cumbria has 4 inches of water in his basement, and considers himself a lucky man to get away so lightly.

The forecast is for more rain.  Those families evacuated from their homes will need to sit out the next few days to assess the damage.

With global weather patterns suggest we will see more of this weather.  So what are the options for those people who bought homes in flood areas?  They could follow the example of Yaron Ivry of Berkshire in the UK.  He simply jacked his entire 5 bedroom house 5 feet higher and placed it on stilts.  In fact, I smell a business opportunity here.

Another strategy is to create a series of stepped holding ponds or tanks in flood areas.  We have such a system near our house to prevent flooding on the motorway.  There are a series of wide flat  holding tanks either side of the road.  Mostly they stand dry, but in heavy rains they turn into temporary ponds as they take the run-off from the road, slowing down the water flow downstream and preventing flooding.

Another good strategy is to create huge sponges that soak up water and hold it for slow release.  We call these sponges “forests” or “bogs”.  Unfortunately we cut most of them down.

Suggestion for planning authorities:  Mandatory planting of woodlands attached to every housing development!

The Floods; by Rudyard Kipling

The rain it rains without a stay
 In the hills above us, in the hills;
And presently the floods break way
 Whose strength is in the hills.
The trees they suck from every cloud,
The valley brooks they roar aloud–
Bank-high for the lowlands, lowlands,
 Lowlands under the hills!

The first wood down is sere and small,
 From the hills–the brishings off the hills;
And then come by the bats and all
 We cut last year in the hills;
And then the roots we tried to cleave
But found too tough and had to leave–
Polting down the lowlands, lowlands,
 Lowlands under the hills!

The eye shall look, the ear shall hark
 To the hills, the doings in the hills!
And rivers mating in the dark
 With tokens from the hills.
Now what is weak will surely go,
And what is strong must prove it so–
Stand Fast in the lowlands, lowlands,
 Lowlands under the hills!

The floods they shall not be afraid–
 Nor the hills above ’em, nor the hills–
Of any fence which man has made
 Betwixt him and the hills.
The waters shall not reckon twice
 For any work of man’s device,
 But bid it down to the lowlands, lowlands,
    Lowlands under the hills!

The floods shall sweep corruption clean–
 By the hills, the blessing of the hills–
That more the meadows may be green
 New-mended from the hills.
The crops and cattle shall increase,
Nor little children shall not cease.
Go–plough the lowlands, lowlands,
 Lowlands under the hills!


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