24 February 2014

Whose floods?

Large sections of England have been flooded, due to "biblical" rain, storms and waves, but some people have noticed an interesting pattern to the damage, in which the Jubilee River (a man-made canal) diverts water around some cities,* thereby inundating other cities.

This stiff-upper-lip analysis puts a finger on the problem:*

Bottom Line: For Queen and country For Queen and toffs; country be damned.

* Eton is a posh boys school. The queen has a castle in Windsor.

H/Ts to MB and NN


  1. Of course, the canals are doing exactly what they were built to do: divert water. That they were built in their current configuration is - likely - a point of history (I'm making the assumption that these weren't built recently).

    Not that historical decisions about where and why to build canals can offer much comfort to those who live in the places where the canals were designed to discharge... :-P

  2. From the provided Wikipedia link: "The Jubilee River is a hydraulic channel in southern England. [..] It was constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s to take overflow from the River Thames and so alleviate flooding to areas in and around the towns of Maidenhead, Windsor, and Eton in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It achieves this by taking water from the left (eastern) bank of the Thames upstream of Boulter's Lock near Maidenhead and returning it downstream of Eton."
    So, now the complaint is that it is doing exactly that?
    Those who are "both completely fucked" live downstream of the confluence with the Thames River, and would probably have the very same flooding problems without the Jubilee 'River', except that there would have been more and bigger problems at Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton as well.
    Either way, the Queen's castle was built on a hill, a dome of Cretaceous Chalk, and does not need the Jubilee River to stay dry as it is roughly 35 m above the river.
    Eton is a town along the Thames River, with about 5,000 inhabitants. Eton College is situated a few metres higher, away from the river.
    Those who are "both completely fucked" live a couple of metres below Eton. Yes, not good when there are floods.
    Bottom line: a bit of a fail post, this.
    By the way, areas, not sections, have been flooded. Gravity is involved, somehow.
    Wait, this is the bottom line.

  3. Good comment, Michael, except that channel may make flooding worse by collecting more water to the convergence instead of, say, flooding land in the natural channel.

    I agree that they poor tend to live in vulnerable areas. It's interesting that a "flood control" project didn't spend some of the 110 million getting people out of floodplains.


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