A flood occurs when water fill some areas that are usually dry zones. It can be produced by overflows of rivers, streams of water or riverbeds, by pouring rains, snowbreak, or by rising tides above the usual level or by seaquakes and hurricanes, among others facts.

Regrettably, in Motilla del Palancar, floods are too much common than in other villages. The main causes are the following ones:

  • Mediterranean climate includes this type of phenomena, such as torrential rains which produce that a great amount of water falls down on an specific zone in the form of cold front or DANA; it is known as ramblas. 
  • The hydrological condition of the Valdemembra River watershed is free of vegetation and this fact boosts that the rain water runs very quickly. 
  • Motilla is located in a part of the natural drain zone of the Valdemembra River’s watershed and this is the reason why floods are so common once and again. 
  • Other different causes could be the type of territory, the characteristic Valdemembra River watershed, the intensity of the rainfalls and the way in which the river flows. 

One solution to these problems would be changing the location of too many buildings which are seated in flood zones and leave enough space for the water to runs freely along the rambla. 

Many people think that this type of disasters could be worst due to the climate change. This is a possible fact, but it is true that floods in Motilla are caused by bad decisions made by its inhabitants when building houses and different places in the town. 

In order to avoid the effects produced by these floods, investments have been made in infrastructures such as the canalization of water. That’s why it is necessary to reduce the urbanistic development in flood zones. 

Besides the mentioned measures, we must react against the climate change, by reducing the carbon footprint and direct CO2 emissions (energetic efficiency and energy transition towards renewable energies), developing circular economy, by the reforestation and conservation of our forests. 

Floods destroy goods of interest for people: crops, agricultural installations, farmlands, roads, highways, bridges, houses, etc. Moreover, floods could cause that people die. 

Some public services (policemen, firefighters, etc.) have worked during these catastrophes by rescuing people in danger. 

Different researches indicate that, in the future, floods could be produced more frequently and be worse than the ones we suffer at present. 

Miguel Ángel Rubio, an specialist working in ADIMAN , says: “Other possible causes of problems are the flood plains: what’s up when the river overflows and the plain is flooded? This disaster makes that daily life is paralyzed in villages and towns, generating at the same time economic losses. 

Everybody wonders what the government thinks about all these catastrophes which are occurring in Motilla del Palancar as well as in the rest of the world. 

To improve the time of response of the emergency services and to check the good working of the Special Plan of Civil Protection in the case of floods in Castilla-La Mancha has been one of the aims of the simulacrum that has taken place this morning at Motilla del Palancar. 

Also, it is possible to know when a flood is going to occur if the amount or rainfall is strong enough to make rivers overflow around a specific area. 

Facing this situation, we have to take some measures: to prepare an evacuation plan, to maintain a fluid communication among the members of affected families in case of being separated during the flood. 

In case of damages in material goods (houses, cars...) people must have an insurance with a good coverage which includes flood coverage; they also must put in a safe place some goods such as building materials (wood layers, plastic covers, hammers, nails, shovels, sand sacks, etc.) 

While this meteorological phenomenon is occurring, we must disconnect electricity, close the water inlets and close the water drains as well as toilets and other pipelines. 

After the flood is over, you mustn’t go inside your house if water is covering the ground floor; don’t eat any food that is wet (because water can have been contaminated); you must look out electrical circuits because they could be wet. You have to look out dangerous materials than have been dragged by the water flow (gasoline, or flammable products). Also, water can debilitate walls and roofs. 

AUTORA: Irene Suares Ares