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How Engineers Stop Floods: High-Tech Solutions for Flood Control

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Watergates in Japan
The historic Iwabuchi Floodgate, or Akasuimon (Red Sluice Gate), in Japan

The historic Iwabuchi Floodgate, or Akasuimon (Red Sluice Gate), in Japan

Photo © Juergen Sack/iStockPhoto.com
Surrounded by water, the island nation of Japan has suffered devastating floods. Communities along Japan's rapidly-flowing rivers are also prone to flooding.

For many years, the picturesque Iwabuchi Floodgate, or Akasuimon (Red Sluice Gate), protected lowlands in the Kita section of Tokyo. The Iwabuchi Floodgate was designed in 1924 by Akira Aoyama, a Japanese architect who also worked on the Panama Canal, and remained in service until 1982. Newer gates were constructed directly behind the historic Iwabuchi Floodgate.

Automated "aqua-drive" motors power many of the watergates in flood-prone Japan. Water pressure creates a force that opens and closes the gates as needed. Aqua-drive motors don't use electricity, so they aren't affected by power failures that can occur during storms.

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