Floods seem to be happening more and more, with devastating results in towns from Vermont to California. But one guy took a gamble on a what is mitigating solution that paid off in a big way.

In the early 1980s, David Doolaege invented water-filled structures as a solution to control floodwater, driven by concerns over environmental damage. Traditional sandbagging methods were slow, expensive, and labor-intensive. Doolaege realized that sandbags represented merely weight and mass, so he decided to use water as a modern alternative.

He crafted the first water structure by filling two inner party balloons with water, placed inside a third balloon. This innovative approach demonstrated that water could effectively control water during floods. He continued testing, moving from his bathtub to his front yard and later to a nearby creek and the Van Duzen river.

Local officials, dealing with water quality issues, encouraged Doolaege to explore construction applications for his invention. The Clean Water Act guidelines frowned upon earthen fill discharges from cofferdams due to their environmental impact. Doolaege’s water-filled cofferdams offered a promising alternative and were used in various projects, such as preventing water turbidity during a landslide near a Bald Eagle nesting site.

From those early experiments, the technology of in-stream water control has evolved, culminating in AquaDams – the solution for flood control projects. For more information or a free quote, visit our website or call 1-800-682-9283.