Chapter 9. Rivers and floods
9.1 The confluence of two 'improved' rivers in south London: left, as illustrated in the 1986 edition of this book and right, after further 'improvement'. For the poor river, things get worse and worse. [Box - two photos]
9.2 Forest clearance is the prime cause of the floods which ravage Bangladesh [Courtesy of Bangladesh High Commission].
9.3 Amberley Wild Brooks is beautiful when flooded and valuable for wild life. In 1977 the Southern Water Authority was prevented from using public funds to drain the Brooks.
9.4 The River Crouch, as 'trained' by Nixon's engineers. The road bridge, a later embellishment, did not appear in Nixon's photograph.
9.5 The drainage may have been "improved" by this 1985 publicly financed scheme, but the Mouse Water was despoiled. [use smaller photo as insert]
9.6 The River Wandse, in Germany, was straightened by river engineers and then restored to its old meandering course in the 1980s (Photo courtesy of Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg).
9.7 An 'improved' river in Copenhagen.
9.8 The amazing thing about this flood relief channel, on the River Lee, is its treatment as a industrial zone fenced with chainlink. The dull public park beyond the fencing would benefit enormously from a well-designed water feature.
9.9 A manhole marking the route of the River Wandle, beloved by John Ruskin, as it passes through Wandle Park. Someday, it will be reclaimed.
9.10 In all the industrial countries, rivers have suffered from forest clearance in the uplands, farm drainage in the lowlands and water-proofing in urban areas. [river1]
9.11 Colours can be used to symbolise proposed riparian character [river].
9.12 Existing and proposed flood contours should be mapped [flood1]
9.13 Buildings can be designed so that they are usable during occasional periods of flooding. In this design, by Martin Wallace and Ray Hole, the top diagram shows the normal flow situation, the middle diagram shows a medium flood and the lower diagram shows the building (on the right) surrounded by the water which it is designed to resist. The dry basin (below) is a soggy area in an otherwise dull expanse of public park: it should have be re-designed as a wetland habitat.
9.14 Storm detention basins on the River Cray in south-east London. The wet basin (above) is beautiful in time of flood, reminding one of the swamps which used to characterise the winter landscape of northern Europe. The dry basin (below) is a soggy area in a public park
9.15 Vegetated roofs are interesting, beautiful, good for thermal insulation and of value as wildlife habitats. Above, London. Below, Cologne. .
9.16 Paved sidewalks were originally a means of protecting gentlefolks' clothes from mud.
9.17 Unsealed 'green lanes' allow rain to percolate into the soil, instead of discharging into drains.
9.18 Hard surfaces can be made porous, using concrete blocks (left) or granite sets (right) [two photos in box].
9.19 These riverworks were designed, by the author of Taming the flood (Jeremy Purseglove), as an alternative to a traditional heavily-engineered design .
9.20 A weir designed by the artist Victor Passmore in Peterlee New Town. He wrote that 'the function of this feature is not only optical, but also environmental and pedestrian'.
9.21 Kajhu Bridge, in Iran, could be the best multi-purpose water-retaining structures which has ever been made [Courtesy of Shilla Tabrizi] .
9.22 Extensive flood protection works were required downstream of the Woolwich Flood Barrier, and most of them were built in a crude and unsightly manner, as here at Gallion's Point. This is no way for a great city to greet a river.
9.23 The weir below Pultney Bridge in Bath is calm and graceful.
9.24 The Tees Barrage and Teesside Whitewater Course Flagship Schemes of Teesside Development Corporation is an excellent modern example of a multi-purpose river control structure (Courtesy of SGS Environmental and Teeside Development Corporation) .
9.25 The beach recharge scheme at Portobello has protected the sea wall from erosion and improved the recreational value of the beach.
9.26 The Edwardian seawall at Sheerness, unlike its modernist successors, was designed as a visual and recreational amenity.