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Annapolis Looking Beyond The Sandbag For Flood Prevention

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the climate warms and sea levels rise, cities like Annapolis are already dealing with increased flooding.

When storm surge from Hurricane Isabel flooded the Annapolis waterfront in 2003, it caused $160 million in damage.

But now, all it takes is a high tide or heavy rain to trigger nuisance flooding.

“The sea level rise is going up and we want to be prepared to address these problems before they happen,” said Mayor Michael Pantelides.

Currently, the first line of defense is also the oldest. And so, Annapolis is looking for a better sandbag.

One solution might use water to fight water. The Tiger Dam system was displayed on the city docks Wednesday, showing off a portable sea wall.

The AquaFence — a collapsible dike that can be taken out and used multiple times — was also displayed.

“We can deploy 100 linear feet of this in one hour with only four people,” said company representative Adam Goldberg.

Local business owners were among those who watched the demonstrations.

They often pay the highest price when high water hits.

“It creates a roadblock where people can’t get down here,” says Dean D’Camera, a local business owner. “Has a pretty dramatic negative impact on the income for the businesses.”

“I’m looking at this stuff here and I’m surprised, and I’m good surprised, because I’m hoping this stuff works,” says another business owner, John Bruno.

these technologies have so far been used primarily along the Gulf Coast, but that’s changing, because full-blown hurricanes are no longer the only source of flooding.

“In fact more of our emergency managers are focusing on sea level rise as opposed to hurricanes themselves,” says Cheryl Witmer, of Tiger Dam.

And that means interest in protection is flooding in.

Besides temporary emergency barriers to flooding, Annapolis is also exploring more long-term, permanent fixes.

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