Water scarcity and flooding often go hand in hand.
The Behavior of the water cycle can be unpredictable and dangerous, but engineers can help soften the deadly impact of floods.
This segment is part of the Engineers of the New Millennium: The Global Water Challenge Special Report.
Transcript: Life and Death on the Limpopo River
Suzana Saranga: My name is Suzana Saranga. I am the deputy national director for water affairs in Mozambique.
From 2000 up to now, we had about one flood per year. But the worst flood that we had was in 2000, in the Limpopo River. At the same time, we had a cyclone going through the coastal area.
We really had a loss of about 600 million U.S. dollars. About 700 people died. Some of those people just disappeared with the water, so…
Most of the population because they do not have yet access to water supply, they live close to the river just to get access to water. So when a flood comes, of course, the schools, the hospitals, people's houses, and so on—they'll be underwater.
And our system of collecting hydrological information—we have somebody there who has the responsibility to go into the river where we put a scale and to read the water level and send to the master station. Once we are in a flood situation, it's really difficult to think that somebody will go to the river and read the scale, because the scale is already under the water.
This example was really about the need to bring the new technology, rather than depending on the people. The telemetric system is a system where the station by itself sends you the information more or less in real time. Those stations, if located in the strategic points, are able to inform the communities living in the flood-prone areas well in advance.
That's why flood protection, flood mitigation, can really help in supporting this vision that we have, that we have to learn how to live with floods.