Flood protection bunds: the waffle method and the chickens coming home to roost

Catal_huyuk_somerset_levelsWhat goes around comes around. The top image is a reconstruction of one of the world’s oldest settlements, at Catal Huyuk in Turkey. Ancient Chinese cities were also protected from floods by high walls. The lower image (from yesterday’s Daily Mail) shows a builder’s determination to protect himself from the floods which have engulfed the Somerset Levels in 2014. See previous posts about the Waffle Method of protecting property from floods. This is what I would do if I lived in a flood-prone area: take my own flood-protection measures. I would of course have no objection to taxpayers building levees and digging channels to protect my property – but I would not trust their generosity. Here is another example of waffle-flood-protection in the flood plain of the Mississippi. Knowing that climate change is taking place, despite Prince Charles’ view of my stupidity, I would build the bund into the design of my garden rather than waiting until the flood waters crept up on my boundary. The bund would also protect the chickens-with-heads I would like to keep in my country garden. Since it would be protected against foxes I could let them enjoy a free-range lifestyle and roost in the trees in my country garden. One other thing: if I was a wealthy builder I would employ a garden designer for my private paradise in Somerset.

7 thoughts on “Flood protection bunds: the waffle method and the chickens coming home to roost

  1. Tom Turner Post author

    More on DIY flood protection measures

  2. Christine

    Yes. I am remembering more watery times and thankful to a kind British gentleman who suggested sending some of the excess water to Australia to help us fight the fires (most recently raging across the state of Victoria). I am wondering if he had heard that western Qld is also experiencing a prolonged drought coming quickly on the footsteps of the previous Millenium drought? It is challenging the mothering instincts of even the usually resilient wildlife. [ http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/5098336-3×4-700×933.jpg ] The rather large native chicken if anyone is wondering is called an emu!

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      The UK has a lot of spare water at present. I can imagine some problems in getting it to Queensland but they are forecasting a month of rainfall in the next two days and I would be happy to do what I can. The Thames is at its highest level for 60 years and I have been wondering who should be taking action and who should be paying:
      – the Chinese and Americans, because of their ‘contributions’ to climate change?
      – the EU, because they have so many ways of wasting money?
      – the UK, because we are a ‘united’ country?
      – the English, because they have more money than the Scots and Welsh and Northern Irish?
      – the local municipalities?
      – the upstream landowners who probably caused the problem, by land ‘improvement’ works?
      – the villagers, on a collective basis?
      – the homeowners, who could take some of the DIY measures indicated above?
      – all of them?
      The issues are legal, philosophical, political and difficult

  3. Christine

    I am not sure whether this would be an appropriate time to trial some of the theories behind Peter Cook’s Soak City? [ http://www.crab-studio.com/soak-city/ ] It is possible that Londoners and other affected by the floods are looking for some guidance right now that is a little less fantastical.

    On a practical point, we could offer you Anna Bligh to assist David Cameron with the PR and other aspects of dealing with floods. [ http://www.smh.com.au/environment/this-bligh-knows-how-to-lead-the-people-20110121-1a00a.html ] Although a subsequent inquiry into the operation of the dam left her legacy a little dinted, her leadership at the time was still remarkable.

    Thankyou for the offer of the water. The logistics of getting it here is undoubtably a challenge? I am wondering if there are any empty oil tankers etc returning to the UK from the Southern Hemisphere?

    Yes, who will pay is always a problem. Do insurance companies do contributory negligence calculations of this kind in order to apportion responsibility for payouts?

    Of course, there is a famous movie about the man who sued God. He at least is never short of funds!

    1. Tom Turner Post author

      Thank you for the Soak City link. It is great that Peter Cook is still doing student projects. Like Archigram itself, I guess they will be influential at some point. I was interested to find this Peter Cook building http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunsthaus_Graz
      My (limited) experience of insurance companies is that they only pay out money when it suits them for PR purposes. They are so good with small print that they can always keep it for themselves if they want to. I have not heard of insurance companies giving advice to homeowners. Their two ploys are (1) withdraw insurance cover in flood risk areas (2) sue somebody else eg:
      . . . If an architect who has the primary responsibility for producing a safe design produces a defective design, it is not obviously fair, just andreasonable that he should be absolved from any liability in tort in respect of its consequences on the ground that another profess
      ional could reasonably be expected to discover his shortcoming. . .So far as the second principle is concerned, it is not obvious why a failure of a person, put at risk by a defective design, to take due care for his own safe ty or that of his property should break the chain of causation rather than amount to contributory negligenceā€.

      Part of our garden fence was blown over by a freak wind at Christmas so, not having spoken to them for about 20 years, I phoned the insurance company. They said fences were excluded from cover because they were prone to wind damage.

  4. Christine

    Whoops! It should be are there any empty tankers returning our way from the Northern Hemisphere that could be filled with flood water?


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