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Kampenís watergate invention generates interest abroad

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

KAMPEN - Rising waters from a flash flood need no longer be a threat after a novel Dutch invention has been installed as a self-activating protective system. Invented by Johann van den Noort, a civil engineering consultant living in Kampen, the Netherlands, the automatic dam, made of lightweight foam-core polyester, sits in a casing installed around buildings or other projects, buried in the ground.

In case of flooding, water flows into a pipe that fills the casing and causes the protective walls to pop out of the ground to form a water barrier. When the flood water has receded, a pump drains the casing and allows the protective wall to drop back below the surface. Van den Noort says that in his invention rising water protects properties against itself.

The Kampen resident developed his concept out of concern for the safety of his hometown, which is located on the IJssel River but has no permanent flood protection along the historic quay, but failed to convince local authorities that he had the solution for them. The threat of flooding in Kampen is posed by run-off water from the German hinterland that empties into the IJsselmeer beyond Kampen. In the distant past the threat of flooding came from the tidal prone Zuiderzee, before the Afsluitdijk turned it into lake IJsselmeer. His invention has been successfully tested around a factory in the Netherlands and could also shield homes, businesses, or even whole towns. The concept offers an alternative choice for keeping water out 20,000 U.S. communities that are prone to flooding.