When I was buying my house by the Mosel, flooding was a big concern. The thought of getting swamped under several feet of water filled caused endless sleepless nights.
The house was advertised as being in a “Hochwasserfrei” (high water free) location, and indeed it does sit above the river. The real estate agent assured me that the place was unlikely to flood, and rather naively I took her word for it
One day I whilst scouring the internet for old pictures, I was horrified to find a picture of my house with water halfway up the front door! The picture was from 1993, the year in which the infamous “hundred-year flood” struck. After a lot more nail-biting and several sleepless nights, I sought solace in the fact that – statistically at least – my place should be safe for a few years to come!
The prospect of getting flooded out is freaky to a total landlubber like me. Conversely, the locals don’t seem to share my concerns. It’s water off the duck’s back to them, no pun intended. Accustomed to the river bursting its banks, they know when and how to prepare for floods, to limit the damage and how to clear up quickly afterwards. This is beautifully illustrated in this German video:
That video astounded me. The river roars swallowing up large swathes of adjacent land and swamping cellars, shops and homes as it goes. However, with real German efficiency, those premises get emptied before the water arrives, and the occupants resort to living upstairs. What impressed me most was the community spirit and the camaraderie – watch out for the two ladies in the rowing boat before and after they have had a drink!
So watch out for future videos of the Mosel “Hochwasser” – you might see me paddling away from my lounge window on my way to the pub!