Water Engineering
www.tblindner.at (© C.Hahn)

Lotus-Inspired Flood Protection Walls?

Such self-cleaning designs are certainly a long way off from market launch – although scientists may already be working on them.

Nevertheless, the first Austrian “acqua alta alpina” flood control exhibition (29th – 30th November 2007) was an impressive showcase of domestic and foreign technology also without them. Together with the paper session featuring reputed experts from meteorology and climate research, it was a forum with enough potential to become the pivot of flood control in Austria. The city of Salzburg with its spacious fairground was viewed as an appropriate venue for the event.

However, many thought there was room for improvement as regards the linkage of theory and practice. Although conference and exhibition area were located within close distance from each other, the organising team failed to lure enough conference participants over to the fairground. Many exhibitors blamed the “crammed” conference programme, leaving participants too little time for a long-enough break.

While companies had little chance to attract potential customers, the audience also missed out on a great opportunity, namely to compare and discuss the difference between seemingly alike flood control technologies. After all, one sand bag is not like the other and even the flood protection walls, mostly made of aluminium and/or special glazing, are often hugely different!

Not to forget the range of special equipment, such as filling machines for self-closing sand bags, which may be highly useful during critical moments when mitigation squads need every single man to tackle other, more demanding tasks. Apart from a few exotic offers such as weather radar devices allowing accurate precipitation forecasts also for smaller areas, one exhibition stand was looking for a distribution partner in Austria (www.hochwas sersicherheit.de).

Many exhibitors deplored a lack of response on the part mayors and flood combat task forces and that the first Austrian acqua alta alpina had not been visited by groups of young people and schoolchildren. “Floods don’t only occur in faraway places like Bangaldesh”, said an expert, who urged to dedicate more effort to promoting flood awareness among children.
(Source: aqua press Int. 4/2007)


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