City to improve flood protection for Old Town

The flood barriers should be higher than the level of the 2002 flood

Prague City Hall has approved increased flood protection for Old Town and Josefov. The barriers will be 30 centimeters higher than the 2002 flood level. Further details were not specified.

Flood protection for the city center began to be built in 1998 and safety features were finished in 2000. The original intention was to protect the city to the level of the 1890 flood, with a 40 to 60 cm safety margin.

The 2002 flood was the worst since 1890. Water from the 2002 flood managed to get into the city center under the flood barriers and through the sewer system. Sandbags had to be used to keep the water back, as barriers weren't high enough. The Vltava river reached 5,300 cubic meters per second at its peak and reached a height of 782 cm. The Prague Zoo and the Karlín district were among the hardest hit areas.

Flood protection for other parts of the city was upgraded after 2002 but not in Old Town and Josefov.

There has been flooding since 2002,and concern over being prepared is an ongoing priority. Flood barriers were erected again in 2013, but the flooding was not as severe as in 2002 and the city center suffered much less damage.

Still, not all of the city is protected. Areas near the Vltava in the south of Prague such as Lahovice and Lahovičky still are not included. The area around the Rokytky stream in Prague 8 also lacks sufficient protection.

Other parts of the waterfront are to be protected with dry dikes, reinforced concrete barriers or soil dams.

Severe flooding hit parts of Moravia in 1997, which is what caused Prague to look at its own flood preparations.

The flood in Prague in 1890 damaged the Charles Bridge, knocking down its central pillars and destroying some of its statues. The bridge was rebuilt and made stronger, according to the technology of the time.

A severe flood in 1845 caused the city to begin dredging the river bottom and stabilizing the embankments. Efforts at dredging and work on the embankments is still ongoing.

The river has a long history of floods. A flood in 1342 knocked down the wooden Judith Bridge, and Charles Bridge was built out of stone as a replacement.

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