Made in Croatia

Revolutionary Water-Filled Barriers Efficient Way to Stop Flooding

By 15 March 2018

The system is called “Fighting water with water.”

Instead of traditional barriers and bags filled with sand or earth, Hrvatska Kostajnica has been defending itself from floods with large red plastic pipes filled with water, reports Večernji List on March 15, 2018.

That is part of the flood-defence system called “Fighting Water with Water,” invented by Croatian companies Corus and Majocommerce which produce the pipes.

The Corus representatives explain that setting up their system is 20 times faster than building temporary embankments, which just two to three people are needed for the assembly of the system, that pipes can repeatedly be used, and that no heavy-duty trucks or sandbags are needed. And they point out that the tubes can be filled with the flood water itself.

Another advantage of the new system is that it is suitable for all types of terrain and that it can be placed on already flooded land. The tubes are between 10 and 20 metres long and between 30 and 120 cm in diameter. The pipes are laid down, connected to the required length by means of combining elements, and then filled with water through a submersible pump or from the hydrant network.

In addition to connecting the pipes length-wise, they can also be connected laterally, if additional reinforcement is required. If the water levels continue to rise, the height of the dam can be increased by placing additional pipes above the entire length of the embankment.

Majocommerce points out that the tubes are made of unique, highly plasticised material with high strength, and have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

Tomislav Petrić, the owner of Corus, says that, together with his business partner Frano Pokrajčić, the owner of Majocommerce, he started working on the project in 2014, while the production was launched in 2016. The motive for designing a new flood-defence system was huge damage caused by flooding and inefficient systems applied in flood protection. Petrić says that, according to the calculations of the American National Flood Defence Association, the damage from 15 cm of water can be up to 200 dollars per square meter of housing space. He explained that their system has already been used, in addition to Hrvatska Kostajnica, in Požega.

Petrić said that it was possible to obtain EU grants for the purchase of their system. “This is a 100% Croatian invention, and we have already exported it to Austria, Germany and Poland. Australia has also shown interest, but we are still negotiating,” said Petrić.

In addition to being more efficient and faster than other flood-defence measures, this system is considerably cheaper, since lorries and excavators are not used when installing the barriers and filling the plastic pipes with water, and there is no need for a large number of people. According to some estimates, the cost of installing a five-kilometre section of temporary embankment costs about 10 million kunas, while the new system costs just five million kuna.

Pokrajčić and Petrić have protected their idea with the Institute for Protection of Intellectual Property. Last year, they won a silver medal at the Innovation Fair in Geneva.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Josip Bohutinski).