Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls Come in ‘Extra Large’ to Hold Back Floods

Written by: , 14 Feb 2014

Two of the three Hydro-Brake® Flood Alleviation flow controls installed at Kirkland Bridge as part of the White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme.

Thousands of homes and properties in the UK are being protected from river flooding by an innovative upstream storage solution using giant-sized Hydro-Brake® Flow Control vortex technology.

The Hydro-Brake® Flood Alleviation flow control is an innovative technology developed by Somerset company Hydro International.  It holds back river floods away from homes and businesses using a sustainable, no-power and low maintenance solution.  The largest schemes control flows in excess of 33 m3/s and hold back millions of cubic metres of water.

“The Government has confirmed that 55 flood schemes can go ahead in 2014/15 in response to the relentless storms and floods experienced across the UK.  Now the onus is on the engineering community to deliver practical, best-value solutions to protect communities and mitigate against future climate change,” said Alex Stephenson chair of the British Water Sustainable Water Management (SuWM) Focus Group and Operations Director of Hydro International’s UK Stormwater division.

Already the opportunities offered by upstream temporary flood storage have attracted attention as a viable, lower-impact solution to flood risk management of river catchments.  The Hydro-Brake® Flood Alleviation flow control holds back water without the need for power or mechanical intervention.

Since Hydro International invented and developed the Hydro-Brake® Flow Control 30 years ago, it has become an industry-standard method of flow attenuation.  The Hydro-Brake® Flow Control’s internal geometry allows water to flow through it unhindered for as long as possible.  A self-activating vortex is created when the water upstream reaches a pre-determined height, for example in a flood situation, throttling back the water, and releasing it at a measured, controlled rate.

“We have now installed Hydro-Brake® Flood Alleviation solutions to protect over 4,000 properties in flood prone areas.  The last three months have shown the Hydro-Brake® could be a key part of further flood alleviation and prevention solutions in the UK.”

The self-activating hydrodynamic vortex control technology was pioneered by Hydro in the 1990s and used extensively to prevent surface water and watercourse flooding ever since.  Most frequently used in much smaller dimensions as part of urban surface water drainage designs, the technology is completely scalable from small dispersed schemes with pass forward flow rates of a few litres per second, to giant schemes that protect major urban conurbations.  2013 saw the rapid acceptance of its most advanced design yet, the Hydro-Brake Optimum®.

“Two major benefits of the Hydro-Brake Optimum® are that the water storage requirements are up to 30% less than for a valve or penstock controlled scheme, and that the maximum inlet design flow can be varied ± 20% to allow for climate change increases,” continues Alex.

Hydro-Brake® Flood Alleviation installations form part of Scotland’s award-winning and largest flood alleviation scheme, the White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme where 1,750 urban and suburban properties are protected, including commercial and residential.  The flow controls hold back water behind three dams creating temporary storage areas on agricultural land in the highlands above Glasgow.  The water is released downstream at a controlled rate so that it does not overspill flood defences protecting properties downstream.

For further information call the Hydro-Brake® hotline: 01275 337937 or visit www.hydro-int.com

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