If It’s Not Flooding Now, It Will, Sometime!

There are few places in North America that is not susceptible to flooding.

There are several reasons why a flood will occur:

  • Too much rain, too fast and limited ability of a City’s internal system to handle all that water
  • Melting ice often combined with rain which combined over runs a City’s internal system
  • High winds fomenting wave action and super high winds causing storm surges resulting in rivers and lakes over topping dikes.

Governments, whether federal, state or provincial cannot afford to build fully protective systems for every stream, creek, river or lake.

When a flood is about to occur the conventional method of protecting people and property is through

  • dike systems already in place
  • emergency dikes constructed with heavy equipment specifically for a flood event, and later taken down
  • sandbag barriers constructed specifically for a flood event, and later taken down
  • commercially available re-usable products acting as temporary flood barriers and later removed and stored for further use.

There is no one particular flood mitigation effort or product that is universally ideal for all flooding situations!

Inflatable Barriers offer certain advantages over other flood mitigation products as follows:

  • The can be quickly filled to surround property or divert flood waters away from properties at risk of damage.
  • They are economic because they are re-usable multiple times.
  • The can be transported to other locations relatively easily at little cost.
  • There is virtually no maintenance required to store the barriers.
  • They have a usable “life” of 15-20 years.

Inflatable Barriers have some disadvantages as follows:

  • Most require a water source and a suitable method of filling determined the total volume of water required, eg. garden hose or pump?
  • Inflatable barriers can be punctured and depending where the puncture occurs and the size of the puncture may cause the barrier to fail.
  • Water seepage under the barrier structure, if not dealt with (pumped back out over the barrier), may cause the barrier to “float” and the structure will fail.
  • Flood waters may “over-top” the barrier, due to a) the height of the floodwaters and therefore the height of the barrier was underestimated, or b) wave action caused by high winds may push water over the barrier, c) ground water may percolate up through the soil behind the barrier-if not dealt with, overtopping and percolation may cause the barrier to float and the structure may fail.

It should be noted that over-topping is a problem faced by all barrier systems, not just inflatable barriers.