Using water to stop flooding

Flood damage to homes and businesses could be a thingof the past thanks to a new invention by a Hickling man.

Joiner Alan Herd, who has lived in the village most of his life, was inspired by the hurricane damage in New Orleans to come up with a solution.

Working jointly with inventor Dr Willy Johnson, from Guernsey, the pair designed a brick that locks together and fills with water to work as an impenetrable wall – called Wata Wall.

Watch the video to see Alan demonstrating a model of the incredible wall, which even re-seals after being lifted up, and is the result of months of hard work.

Mr Herd said: "After seeing sandbags and the like washed away, I wanted to design something that could stand up to flood water. Willy said you fight fire with fire so we should fight water with water."

He added: "Between the two of us we have managed to come up with this quite wonderful solution."

They initially came up a series of plastic bags filled with water but found they could not stop them from leaking.

Eventually, over a period of six months, they had the idea of dove-tailing bricks that, when filled with water, would allow liquid to move between each unit but not leak.

The system means that each brick, which measures 3ft by 2ft by 2ft, is light enough to be carried by one person, but when filled with water weighs a third of a ton.

That means a 6ft high wall will be one ton – much stronger than current portable flood defences.

Mr Herd said: "All it needs is a pump to fill the dam with water. With modern technology, we now know when floods are likely to happen so with the Wata Wall people can be prepared."

Once the floods have receded a locked childproof plug can be pulled to allow the water to drain away.

The system has now been patented by Dr Johnson, one of Britain's most prolific inventors, and the pair are now looking for a large manufacturer so it can be distributed worldwide.

If it is successful, the producers would have to be able to make hundreds of thousands of Wata Wall bricks.