Temporary barrier systems are barriers that are erected temporarily just before a flood event. There are several kinds of temporary barrier systems. There are temporary barrier systems that are permanently constructed on-site but are only lifted temporarily during a flood event and stored in-situ during normal activities. These systems can be more expensive and include hydraulic-actuated concrete barriers, inflatable barrier systems, and flip-up or placed-in flood barriers. There are also temporary barrier systems that must be placed just before a flood event and then are stored nearby during normal activities. These systems include water-filled temporary barriers, air-filled temporary barriers, and gravel-filled containers. In general, these temporary barrier systems are less expensive than the temporary barrier systems constructed on-site.


One of the main advantages of temporary barrier systems is that they are not visible during normal activities on your site. Additionally, the building is not disturbed at all.


There are several disadvantages to temporary barrier systems. First, you need sufficient extra land around your building on which to erect the barriers. Second, you must get enough warning time before a flood event to set up the barriers. Third, these systems are not fail-safe systems and do not guarantee complete flood protection.


  • A temporary barrier system erected close to property lines can negatively impact local drainage patterns, which may increase flooding for your neighbors.
  • Depending on how floodwater encroaches on your site, you may only need to have a temporary barrier system erected on a portion of your site instead of around your entire building.
  • Temporary barrier systems are difficult to test between flood events, but training and drills for erecting the temporary barriers are important to ensure that they are installed correctly during flood events.
  • The temporary barriers should be cleaned after use.


An example of a water-filled temporary barrier system by Aqua Dam. (Image source: www.layfieldgroup.com/Environmental-Containment/Product-Finder/Aqua-Dam-Flood-Control-Systems.aspx)

An example of an air-filled temporary barrier system called the NOAQ Tubewall. (Image source: www.floodcontrolinternational.com/PRODUCTS/FLOOD-BARRIERS/noaq-tubewall.html)

(Left) Temporary barrier wall laid flat during normal activities, and (right) before a flood event, the temporary barrier wall flips up. (Image source: www.floodcontrolinternational.com/PRODUCTS/FLOOD-BARRIERS/flip-up.html)