“SINKING CITIES: TOKYO”

November 08, 2018 at 4:45 am

Tokyo is looking for new ways to fight back against rising waters. Peril & Promise, the public media initiative reporting on the human impact of climate change, scientific solutions and innovation in resilience, mitigation and clean energy, presents the four-part PBS documentary series, “Sinking Cities,” exploring how four global cities are coming to grips with the real-time effects of rising seas and extreme weather.  We have a preview.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

Aired on November 7, 2018. 

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WNET PERIL AND PROMISE REPORTING
INITIATIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE HAS
A NEW SERIES.
SINKING CITIES, A FOUR-NIGHT
TELEVISION EVENT EXPLORING THE
IMPACT OF RISING SEA LEVELS AND
INTENSIFYING WEATHER.
NEW YORK, TOKYO, LONDON AND
MIAMI ARE COPING WITH THE
REALTIME EFFECTS OF RISING SEAS
AND WORKING ON SOLUTIONS TO
LITERALLY STEM THE TIDE.
TONIGHT THE TARGET IS TOKYO, A
CITY PLAGUED BY TYPHOONS,
TSUNAMIS, EARTHQUAKES AND
SINKING NEIGHBORHOODS.
AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST
POPULAR CITIES WHAT SOLUTIONS
HAVE SIGNIST ITS, PLANNERS FOUND
TO HELP MITIGATE CLIMATE
DISASTER.
HERE IS A PREVIEW.
>> TYPHOONS, TSUNAMIS,
EARTHQUAKES, RISING SEAS,
LIQUEFACTION, SINKING
NEIGHBORHOODS.
TOKYO, THE WORLD'S MOST POPULACE
CITY HAS THE WORLD'S LARGEST SET
OF PROBLEMS.
>> SO WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THOSE
LEVELS TOGETHER THE SEA LEVEL
RISES ONE METER PLUS THE QUAKE,
THAT'S TWO METERS.
PLUS EVENTUALLY A TYPHOON THAT
CAN BRING THE WATER LEVEL A
METER HIGHER.
THAT'S THREE METERS.
IF YOU'RE UNLUCKY AT THAT TIME
YOU HAVE FLOOD FROM THE RIVERS,
CREDITED TO BE BETWEEN 1 AND 1.5
MEMBERS.
ALL THOSE TOGETHER, YOU'RE IN
TROUBLE.
IT'S NOT THE QUESTION OF IF IT'S
GOING TO HAPPEN, IT'S A QUESTION
OF WHEN IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.
>> NONETHELESS, TOKYO MAY BE ONE
OF THE VERY FEW CITIES IN THE
WORLD SERIOUSLY GRAPPLING WITH
THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
IT'S FIGURED OUT ENGINEERING
SOLUTIONS BEFORE AND WITH SEA
LEVELS RISING JAPAN NOW NEEDS TO
DO IT AGAIN.
IN 1993 BEFORE CLIMATE CHANGE
WAS MUCH DISCUSSED, TOKYO
DECIDED TO TACKLE ITS EXISTING
FLOOD PROBLEM WITH A MEGA
PROJECT THAT MANY BELIEVED WAS
DECADES AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

JAPAN BUILT A FUTURISTIC CAVERN
TO PROTECT ITSELF AGAINST WATER
FROM ABOVE, BELOW, OR THE
SURROUNDING SEA.
>> WE ARE IN THE SURGE TANK.
WE HAVE COME DOWN TO 65 FEET
BELOW THE GROUND.
ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE IS SHAFT
NUMBER ONE.
FURTHER DOWN THE TUNNEL, WE ALSO
HAVE SHAFT NUMBER TWO, THREE,
FOUR, AND FIVE.
THE OVERFLOW FROM FLOODING IS
COLLECTED THROUGH THESE SHAFTS
AND GOES THROUGH THE TUNNEL TO
COME UP THROUGH SHAFT NUMBER ONE
GRADUALLY.
THE WATER THEN FLOWS INTO THE
DRAINAGE PUMP STATION THROUGH
THIS SURGE TANK.
>> WHEN WATER FLOODS TOKYO, THIS
IS WHERE IT ALL GOES.
>> THE ACCUMULATED WATER WILL
RISE AND EVENTUALLY IT WILL
REACH A CERTAIN LEVEL.
THEN IT GETS THROUGH THE PUMPS
OF THE DRAINAGE PUMP SYSTEM TO
BE DRAINED OUT TO THE ADO RIVER.
WE HAVE THE WATER FLOWING INTO
OUR FACILITY ABOUT SEVEN TIMES A
YEAR ON AVERAGE.
OUT OF THOSE SEVEN TIMES, OR
ABOUT 60% OF THE TIME, THE WATER
FLOWS INTO HERE AND IS FORCED
OUT TO THE RIVER.
FOR THE REMAINING 40% OF THE
TIME, WE STORE THE WATER HERE AS
IT CAN HOLD UP TO 670,000 TONS.
THEN THE WATER GETS RETURNED TO
THE RIVER IT CAME FROM.
>> THE SYSTEM CAN HOLD UP TO 65
MILLION GALLONS OF WATER AND CAN
PUMP IT OUT AS QUICKLY AS IT
COMES IN.
LEWIS McKENNA IS A UK-BASED
ENGINEER FOCUSED ON THE PROBLEM
OF STORMWATER MANAGEMENT.
>> FOR THE MIND'S EYE TO CAPTURE
THE SCALE OF THESE SILOS, YOU
CAN TAKE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
AND PLACE IT INSIDE ONE OF THOSE
SILOS.
THAT'S HOW BIG IT IS.
IT IS QUITE IMPRESSIVE.
FLOODING IN TOKYO IS A BIG
CHALLENGE.
IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE THAT TYPE OF
PROTECTION, THEY WOULD BE GONE.
>> IT TOOK 13 YEARS TO CONSTRUCT
THIS FACILITY FROM 1993 TO 2006.
IN ACTUAL FIGURES IT COSTS $232
BILLION YEN.
>> THAT'S MORE THAN $2 BILLION.
>> SOME DOMESTIC AND
INTERNATIONAL EVALUATIONS
CONSIDER THIS TO BE EXPENSIVE.
HOWEVER, THE FLOOD DAMAGES IN
THIS BEEN REDUCED TO
APPROXIMATELY 1/10.
THEREFORE, I THINK IT IS NOT
THAT EXPENSIVE WHEN YOU TAKE THE
FLOOD DAMAGES INTO
CONSIDERATION.
>> IN 2015, AFTER A RECORD
RAINFALL, THIS TEMPLE TO
ENGINEERING WAS FILLED TO THE
BRIM.
BUT THE HEAVIEST OF THOSE RAINS
MISSED TOKYO WITH THE GREATER
IMPACT OUTSIDE THE CITY TO THE
NORTHEAST.
THE GIANT DRAINAGE SYSTEM COULD
NOT HAVE COPED IF THAT HAD
DIRECTLY HIT TOKYO.
>> Translator: I HEARD IT WAS
THE GREATEST AMOUNT OF INFLOW
AND DRAINAGE SINCE THE FACILITY
BEGAN ITS OPERATION.
OUR FACILITY HAS FOUR PUMPS AND
WE USUALLY USE ONE OR TWO AT A
TIME.
2015 WAS THE FIRST TIME ALL FOUR
PUMPS OPERATED AT FULL CAPACITY
SIMULTANEOUSLY FOR MORE THAN A
WEEK TO DRAIN THE WATER IN AN
EFFORT TO MITIGATE FLOODING IN
THE REGION.
>> ONCE THE TANK IS FULL, IT
DRAINS INTO THE ADO RIVER AT A
RATE OF 53,000 GALLONS, THE
CAPACITY OF AN OLYMPIC SIZED
SWIMMING POOL EVERY 12 SECONDS.
IT'S THE MOST ADVANCED FLOOD
MITIGATION SYSTEM ON THE PLANET.
RECENT RECORD RAINFALLS ARE TOO
MUCH FOR EVEN THE MASSIVE
RESERVOIRS TO HANDLE.
>> WE DO GET QUESTIONED ABOUT
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE HAD A
RAINFALL OF A SIMILAR SCALE.
WE MUST ADMIT WE ARE NOT FULLY
CERTAIN.
>> SINKING CITIES, TOKYO
PREMIERS TONIGHT AT 10:00 P.M.
ON PBS.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR
SUBSEQUENT AIR TIMES OR ONLINE
VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES.
SO ON BEHALF OF ALL OF THE
ENTIRE TEAM AT "METROFOCUS,"
HAVE A GOOD NIGHT AND WE'LL SEE
YOU TOMORROW.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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