Sandbagging does not protect from floods, it causes them.

Sandbagging does not protect from floods, it causes them.

6 minute read

Have you noticed that floods seem to happen more and more often now? Of course, we all know about the ongoing climate change and global warming. Raising temperatures make water evaporate more intensively, causing massive snowmelt and extensive rainfall. Eventually, even if you live in an area that is not famous for its flooding events, you`d better start learning about sandbagging, flood gates, and other anti-flooding solutions.

sandbagging on the shoreline

But according to the  Sand and sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources   - a report from UN Environment, global warming might not be the only reason for the rising rate of floods worldwide.

Those who live in the historically flood-prone regions, sea coastlines, and river banks are true flood-fighting professionals. They might have invented and definitely perfected the art of sandbagging as the most efficient and credible time-tested anti-flooding solution.

Even today, when the market offers innovative flood protection devices, there are numerous fans of sandbagging who believe it to be reliable and a sustainable and eco-friendly way to withstand floods.

However, practice shows that the reality might be a bit more brutal than we imagine. Instead of saving us and our property from aging water, sandbagging might be one reason for the increasing flood rate in coastal areas.

Is sand the most sustainable material against floods?

Indeed, sand is everywhere. Especially if you live next to the beach. Therefore, it might seem natural that people who are no strangers to floods choose sandbags as the most straightforward and available way to protect their properties.

However, scientists claim that those who live in coastal areas and use sand for construction and protection from flooding eventually find themselves in a vicious circle. The more sand they extract, the more they are the coastline causing flooding. And then they need even more sand to protect their properties.

Although initially, sand is a sustainable material, the growth rates or urbanization and population, especially in coastal areas, lead to the fact that people mine more and more sand. Much more than Nature can renew to maintain the existing coastlines. 

Riversand is considered the most desirable for construction as it is clean, fine, and does not require costly processing. The extraction of river sand is increasing 5% every year. At the same time, the frequency of river floods is increasing at almost the same pace.

How does sand mining cause floods?

Our planet operates according to strict laws of physics. Object move, relocate on the Earth`s surface according to those rules, and any attempt to alter the playfield always leads to an irreversible change of the overall rules of the game.

As we all know, the ocean`s level is constantly rising due to global warming and icemelt. It means that more and more water volume is being released into the Ocean. This massive volume needs more space.

Technically this is why every day we hear reports that famous cities located on water such as Venice, Amsterdam, or St. Petersburg are literally drowning due to the rising water level.

According to the experts, the process is irreversible and inevitable. This is because it has been happening on Earth for million years. However, urbanization, technical progress, and population growth are boosting it today like never before.

When we extract sand from the coastline, whether for construction or protection from floods, we cause massive coastline altering and erosion. The massive water body trapped inside the shoreline finds a new trapdoor and urges to fill it up.

Sandbagging is the vicious circle of flooding.

The more sand we extract for our everyday needs, the more we damage the coastline. It leads to massive flooding, also recharged by massive rainfall, snowmelt caused by environmental pollution. 

If sandbagging remains the preferrable anti-flooding measure in your region, you go and extract even more sand for the dams and therefore damage the coastline, even more, inviting more water.

It may not seem that significant once we talk about just your household. However, there is a big chance that all your neighbors and the local government will also use sandbagging and contribute to the coastline altering.

 Let`s do simple math. 1 sandbag contains about 15 kg (33 lbs) of sand. Experts claim that it takes about 600 sandbags to secure a 100-foot section of the property from 1-foot high flooding. Therefore in the most modest case of flooding, you will need at least 9 tons (18000 lbs) to protect 100 feet of property. 

Now you can make an estimate of how much sand would be required to protect your whole settlement or coastline town from flooding, and you will understand how people are literally inviting the disaster into their lives using the outdated sandbagging technology.

What sandbagging does to your town?

Except for stimulating floods, sandbagging does a lot of harm to your local community in general. Coastline towns mostly live off fishing and tourism. When floods happen more and more often and the coastline changes to protect from them, it inevitably leads to infrastructure destruction.

In other words, it means destroyed points and docks, washed off beaches and properties, which inevitably leads to a decrease of tourists and their investment into the local economy.

This effect had become most painful during and right after the Pandemic ers when local tourism became the only available one but revealed lots of pitfalls due to unsteady infrastructure and unreadiness to accept and accommodate tourists in most coastline locations.

Are there alternatives for sandbagging?

Searching for truly sustainable and efficient ways to protect from floods without exhausting natural resources, more and more people discover innovative solutions like flood gates and multi-use flood barriers.

Those devices are easy to use, most efficient against most severe floods, and can be used many times throughout the years, being the least environmentally impactful solutions.

Contact Dam Easy today and learn about our flood gates and other innovative alternatives to sandbagging that will protect you from the disaster without the risk of worsening your perspectives to face more severe floods in the future. 

Flood Barrier Door Dam - Ultimate Flood Gate

Flood Barrier Door Dam - Ultimate Flood Gate


DAM EASY® FLOOD GATE - DOOR DAM    Floods are becoming more common around the world. What was once a 100-year phenomenon is now a seasonal trend that homeowners must deal with.   That’s EXACTLY why you need this Dam Easy Flood… Read More

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