- Floods: A National Challenge and Local Responses
- Concrete solutions to fight floods
- Prevent and fight floods at home
Floods can be the result of overflowing watercourses, too much rainwater run-off, rising water table or lake, or coastal invasion by the sea If we can not prevent these natural disasters, it is nevertheless possible to fight against their consequences and to reduce the risks.
Natural catastrophes inevitable aggravated by global warming
Flooding is the main natural risk to which the French are exposed, and 1.5 million people live in one of the 16 000 communes situated in the flood zone *. Both the potential costs and the number of citizens involved make it the major national risk of natural disasters, as more than 17 million * people are exposed to the consequences of floods resulting from the overflow of a watercourse..
These natural phenomena are inevitable, insofar as they originate from exceptional weather conditions, except in very rare cases of rupture of structures of the dam or dike type. Flooding happens when torrential rains fall too long or, on the coast, when storms reach too much intensity. The consequences are numerous and potentially catastrophic: infrastructure and submerged houses, flooded fields, landslides and cars washed away. To these immediate material consequences are added the long-term consequences for the jobs and the safety of the people concerned.
Global warming is no stranger to the phenomenon. By accelerating the melting of glaciers, and thus rising sea levels, global warming is affecting the acceleration and worsening of the risk of flooding. Climatologists all agree to plan a sea level rise of more than 1 m by the end of the 21st centurye century. This is why it is under the auspices of the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition that the different flood risk prevention processes take place.
Floods: A National Challenge and Local Responses
Conscious of the stakes and in order to face the risks, the public authorities set up a national strategy of flood risk management (SNGRI). The aim of this strategy is to shorten the return to normalcy time in the affected areas, increase the safety of those at risk of flooding, and stabilize and reduce the costs associated with the consequences of flooding. In fact, this strategy is reflected in a risk assessment that identifies and maps areas at risk of flooding (TRI) to be able to apply at the local level PRRI (Flood Risk Prevention Plan). adapted.
It is the inter-communities (ie urban communities, metropolises, communities of municipalities and urban communities) that have the responsibility to implement these risk management plans.
A Vigicrues network was also set up in 2014 to try to anticipate flood risks and to warn the public in good time. The Vigicrues website provides a very accurate forecast of the rise in the level of large rivers, allowing, in this case, to take a number of preventive measures.
Concrete solutions to fight floods
The various government initiatives are reflected at the local level by the implementation of several prevention and risk management solutions.
In addition to creating an accurate map of risk areas, dikes are constructed to prevent 100-year floods (floods that have a 100-year chance of occurring every year) and buffer pools are created upstream of risk areas. to avoid the risk of overflowing or engorgement.
The increase in green spaces is also a track that, in the long term, minimizes the appearance and severity of floods. Indeed, the presence of a network of roots and an important tree cover makes it possible to evacuate the water more effectively by the ground. Paved sidewalks, which hold water on the surface and contribute to the clogging of evacuation networks, would thus be better left to be abandoned for grassy sidewalks or concrete and bitumen permeable and draining.
Local PRRIs often also provide for the creation of rainwater retention ponds. These basins (which can be exposed or buried) are located upstream of risk areas and they can contain excess water before it reaches inhabited or built areas.
Prevent and fight floods at home
Flood control is also at the individual level, and it is the responsibility of all immediate river residents to ensure proper maintenance. All the necessary information is available in a guide published by the SIARE (the Syndicat Intercommunal d'Assainissement of the Region of Enghien-les-Bains), which is easily online.
In the same way, the inhabitants of a flood zone, an IRR or a potentially floodable zone must keep themselves informed of the current conditions by consulting the site of VIGICRUE or Météo France for the national alerts.
It is also possible to fight at home against worsening water conditions by reducing the water discharged into the whole into the collective sewer. It is indeed quite feasible to put in place an individual wetland system that will conserve rainwater on its own land rather than sending it to swell the flow that saturates public drainage systems.
* Source: Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition.
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