Flood protection for UK

Posted: Wednesday 5th September 2007

'AquaFence' demos the future of flood protection at the Tees Barrage.

AquaFence, said to be the most flexible semi-mobile flood protection system ever devised is now available in the UK and will be demonstrated at the Tees Barrage from September. This proven system is already in use in potential flood zones in the USA, Hungary, Germany, Norway and Sweden and its introduction to the UK may prove vital to struggling flood hit local authorities, businesses and utility companies following this summer's unprecedented rainfall and its disastrous consequences.

The patented design of AquaFence addresses the inherent failings of traditional flood protection methods such as high costs, low strength and water leakage, slow deployment and expensive and time consuming disposal.

Sandbags are the most common form of flood protection but are notoriously time and manpower intensive to set-up - on average a ten man team can take up to 72 hours to erect a 100m sandbag wall. It can take a six man team just 1 hour to erect an impenetrable 100m AquaFence flood barrier, ensuring that the system can be deployed and ready for action as soon as a danger of flooding is recognised.

The unparalleled set-up time of AquaFence is achieved through the unique all-in-one design of the AquaFence sections (elements). Each w200cmxh120cm (as standard, other heights available) element is self-contained, with everything needed to erect it attached, ensuring that parts aren't lost during storage, transport or deployment during bad weather.

Once a two metre section is hand-lifted into place, it is a simple case of raising the vertical section and clipping four poles into place - an action that takes less than 20 seconds. The next element is then attached and a highly durable, impervious to water PVC section ensures complete integrity at the join. This method also enables a 5 degree angle to be implemented (vertical and horizontal) to enable an AquaFence flood barrier to follow an uneven course and to lessen the requirement for specially designed elements.

AquaFence is available as a mobile version for hard ground installation. The semi-mobile solution for soft-ground installation may require the use of a pre-fabricated concrete base. AquaFence engineers can work with customers and contractors during the straightforward assembly of the base, which due to its small size is low-cost, inconspicuous and unobtrusive, allowing clear passage for pedestrians and vehicles when not in use.

Once flood water arrives, the unique design of AquaFence comes into its own. The pressure of the water itself provides strength and stability ensuring that the AquaFence elements stay in place. This new concept in flood protection ensures high integrity throughout an AquaFence installation, which is fortified by a specially developed seal that mitigates water ingress between AquaFence elements and the ground. In areas where there is a risk of heavy floating debris, a specially designed debris shield can be fitted, which in another unique method uses the flood water itself as a protective cushion.

AquaFence is clearly the most sophisticated, yet easy to deploy semi-mobile flood defence system available. Despite its unmatched protection for building and property during flooding AquaFence does not come at a high price. On average, a w200cmxh120cm of sandbags costs the same as an identical sized AquaFence element. However, AquaFence can be used over and over, whereas sandbags may be used only once. Increasing this value further, is the fact that used sandbags may become contaminated during flooding and are thus classed as hazardous waste and have to be disposed of as such, which is an expensive and timely process.

"Sandbags are the most widely used form of flood prevention around the world, but AquaFence can be a total replacement for this age-old method. AquaFence is stronger, more impervious to leakage, much easier and faster to deploy and above all, works out to be much more cost effective. The fact that against sandbags, AquaFence actually pays for itself after the first use is an extremely attractive prospect, especially as the system is better in every way to protect known flooding hotspots than anything else on the market today," enthuses Caroline ěstensen, Marketing and Administration Manager, AquaFence.

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