Call Kurtis: Flood Protection Alternatives Replace Sandbags, Erect Levees

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — We’ve all seen the frantic sandbagging when there’s a risk of flooding, but what other options do you have to protect your home?

We found some pretty interesting inventions, some of them you can store in your garage until needed, for the next rainy season.

When the water rises, people race for the sand, grabbing sandbags before the floods come.

But we searched for alternatives.

The first thing we found is a product called the HydraBarrier made by Watershed Innovations. It says it’s the sandbag alternative that replaces several sandbags, so we gave it a try. The company behind the HydraBarrier says “It fights water with water.” A hose fits right into the side of a 6-foot long tube that takes less than 2 minutes to fill. When you’re done you just drain it and can use it again later.

The 6-foot barrier we tested is priced at $14.99 and protected the door up to 6 inches of water. You can get the HydraBarrier up to 20 inches tall and 50 feet long, but that’ll run you $750.

On a bigger scale of this type of barrier is the AquaDam. This 3-foot tall barrier was used last summer in Texas to protect a home from flood water. It’s also useable and works when you fill it with water. The company says it’s 10 times faster than filling sandbags. Although a word of caution, if water tops it, the AquaDam can float away.

Texas homeowner, Randy Wagner, told our sister station he paid $8,300 for a 400-foot wall.

“To me, a small investment, for a house to have 2 feet of water in it,” said Wagner.

If you want to save your entire neighborhood, pool together $300,000, and you can build a 4-foot tall AquaFence around the average city block.

Aquafence claims in its infomercial,”Floods can deploy fast, the AquaFence can be deployed faster.” The AquaFence is a marine-grade batlic laminate, stainless steel, with aluminum reinforced PVC canvas.

AquaFence’s director, Adam Goldberg said, “It only takes a crew of 8-10 guys to protect your whole building, when you’re done you fold it up, for the next flood.”

Next-in-line, how about building your own levee? With the Instee Levee Builder.

Kyle Sweningson of Progressive Innovations tells us the machine pours sand into a tube which becomes an 18-inch tall sandbag.

But if you want this product, plan ahead, it takes 3 days to ship the equipment to California. Additionally, you’ll have to buy sand and hire a local crew capable of operating heavy machinery.

But back to products you can get at your local hardware store. The easiest product we found is called the QuickDam, billed as “The next generation of flood protection.”

It’s made of fabric but feels like diaper material, especially when full. Just drop the product right in front of the place you want to protect turn on water, and within minutes it absorbs and expands.

The QuickDam we bought cost us $17.99. It’s 5-foot long and 3.5-inch tall barrier. You can stack them for more protection.

The QuickDam can be left out all season long—it swells when there’s water, and supposedly shrinks when there’s no water.

There you have it, big, small, on a budget or pricey barriers, you have some options. And most of these products are reusable and eco-friendly and can be stored in your garage until needed.

By the way, if you’re looking to buy flood insurance, don’t forget it doesn’t go into effect for 30 days after you sign up.

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