How to Flood-Proof Your Home

To homeowners, typhoons and monsoon rains are a real pain – physically, emotionally, and financially. How many times in a year have we worried about getting flooded? It is not just the stress of getting home when you are caught outside in a storm. Even to those lucky enough to avoid the traffic and flooded roads, being at home still means watching water levels rise, and making sure it does not reach our front doors.

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Flooding has always been a pressing concern in the Philippines. This is why to those interested, the Department of Public Works and Highways released a Flood Management Master Plan for residents of Metro Manila and the surrounding areas.

We on our end can also perform a number of measures to flood-proof our homes.  Note however, that the four measures discussed are aimed at preventing damage, and not to prevent the actual occurrence of floods.

  1. Elevate your home

Elevating your house to a level higher than the expected water depth is an investment worth making. It is even the more effective way to prevent the impact of flooding. However, most houses, especially in the Capital, have concrete foundations. This means that houses are firmly in place making elevation a very costly and complicated. A cheaper and easier alternative to elevation can be done instead. Place valuable items and electrical devices above the floodwater level. Store items in overhead shelves and cupboards. Other valuables and important documents should be in the house’s second floor.

  1. Ensure that structures are watertight

Walls and pathways that are on or below the floodwater level should be watertight. Impermeability is an alternative to elevation, and this can be achieved by painting the walls with a waterproof compound, sealing them with plastic sheets, adding an additional layer of masonry, or installing watertight shields.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warn however, that not all structures may be strong enough to withstand water pressure that is more than three feet. Walls may crack or break so ensure that old walls are reinforced.

  1. Wet Flood-Proofing

Wet flood-proofing is letting water in to minimize the pressure on walls and floors.  This may be an undesirable option, but according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this method minimizes overall infrastructure damage. If you have already followed the first tip, then all that will be left for you to do is to clean up and repair minimal damages once the floodwater has receded.

  1. Create barriers

The effectiveness of barriers depends on the quality of materials used, and their maintenance over the years. These barriers can be made of earth, sandbags, concrete masonry, or even steel, strategically places in areas where water may enter. In high-density urban areas, concrete floodwalls can be built to protect multiple homes. Talk to your neighborhood association about this.

For more information about this topic, you can check out the original article that also lists the most flood-free areas in Metro Manila.

Image Credits:
Witthaya Phonsawat

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