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News Innovative Flood Protection Measures

Rising water levels and flooded basements due to severe rainfall events, these are scenarios which we will have to deal with more often in future. The damage caused by these events in 2010 totalled more than one billion euros in Germany alone. The need for innovative protection measures against floods is becoming more and more urgent.

 Possible technical solutions cover a wide range, from dike improvements to new ways of dealing with the water masses that can occur in extreme rainfall events. As the European Green Capital 2011, Hamburg is a very special setting for this year’s acqua alta.

 Dikes and protective barriers are the backbone of engineering works forflood protection. acqua alta gives a comprehensive overview of current developments in future dike improvement methods. For example, Prof. Norbert Meyer of the Institute of Geotechnical Engineering and Mine Surveying of the Clausthal University of Technology presents a system to manage overtopping of dikes and embankments in such a way as to provide targeted dike corridors to control the flow of water, “one of the main causes of dike damage is overtopping at high water, because that causes erosion of the dike. Targeted dike corridors can help to avoid that.”


Events of recent years have shown that most towns and cities are not sufficiently protected in the event of severe rainfall events. The local drainage, sewerage and waterway networks are not adequate to take up the rainwater quantities which may occur. A study conducted in the framework of the research group Klimzug Nord shows the importance of bodies of water close to the town centre in coping with severe rainfall. The study runs until 2014, and its results so far will be presented at acqua alta by Sandra Hellmers of the Hamburg University of Technology: “the final conclusions of the project will give an overview of the climate impact to be expected for the sewerage and waterways network. Adaptation measures in decentral management, such as green roofs and green spaces with soakaway hollows can make a substantial contribution to mitigating the consequences of severe rainfall events and reducing peak loads.”

 International exchange on innovative concepts and measures is at the centre of acqua alta. Thus Dr. John Pisaniello of the University of South Australia will present the special features of the private-sector agricultural dams in Australia. In rainy periods, they may constitute a hazard for neighbouring communities, and in drought periods they cause unequal distribution of the water. There will also be contributions from Rotterdam and Copenhagen, explaining the concepts that are being examined by other major cities to mitigate flood impact.

 Acqua alta Exhibition and International Conference will be held at CCH-Congress Center Hamburg from 11th to 13th October 2011. Its main subjects are Climate Impact, Flood Protection and Hydraulic Engineering, giving a platform to all the organisations, institutes, local authorities and industries involved for expert exchange of views and development of joint strategies. The exhibition at CCH is a showcase for specialist companies to demonstrate their innovative products, technologies and services.

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News type Inbrief
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Source of information Water Link International
Keyword(s) Climatic change, drought, degradation of the environment, flooding, natural risk, risk
Geographical coverage Germany,
News date 28/06/2011
Working language(s) ENGLISH