Barriers and barrages


Flood barriers are tidal defence structures for the protection of people, land and property. As our knowledge of climate change and its effect on sea levels becomes better understood, it’s essential that these installations are always ready to reliably respond to flood warnings.

Whether it’s for design, inspection, maintenance or refurbishment, owners and operators of large, moving, sea-resistant surge barriers know that to maintain this reliability KGAL is the UK consultancy with more experience than any other. In project management, structural design, hydraulic engineering and asset inspection.

The range of issues affecting reliability are numerous. Concerns range from shortfalls in the original deign to the loss of corrosion protection (perhaps compromised by erosion); from out of date local and remote control equipment to the efficiency of the mechanical and hydraulic operating gear; from collisions and debris obstructions to simple but persistent abrasion from sand or silt.

At KGAL we have knowledge of all these issues and of the right solutions. And we can help with staff training; not just for managing new or replacement equipment or controls but where, for whatever reason, key personnel have been lost. Lastly, irrespective of current operating efficiency, all operators will be concerned about their asset’s ability to cope with sea level forecasts. At KGAL we have the project experience and the structural, mechanical and hydraulic expertise to ensure your tidal surge barrier is not only always “ready to reliably respond” but also ready to meet future forecast demands.

Barrages and weirs

A barrage is typically an active structure for diverting the course of a river (for irrigation, hydropower or to reclaim land), to control the downstream river height (for flood protection or navigation), to better manage supply and salinity (for drinking water supply, agriculture or industry) or to contain a lagoon (for tidal energy). It is rare for a barrage to be designed uniquely to generate hydropower although multipurpose barrages where hydropower is one of several objectives are not uncommon. A weir might do any of these things,­ though usually on a smaller passive scale, but is also used to measure river or stream flow rates.

Whatever the purpose, barrage operators face many of the same issues as barrier managers since both types of water control asset have moving parts and both are exposed to many of the same risks which can degrade effectiveness.

What does differentiate the barrage, however, is it’s near-permanent role as a facilitator. The barrier operates only at times of potential flood whereas, to maintain its effectiveness, the barrage may be subject to constant adjustments in response to ecological changes

For almost every barrage purpose we have deep project experience with, for a number of applications, a wide portfolio of case studies.

To find out more and the degree to which KGAL can assist with your project (be it a simple visual inspection or a whole new installation within a regional master-plan) please contact one of our offices or complete the website enquiry form.