Waju has unique device to control flooding. Housings are constructed on stone-raised land. The first floor is kept open without walls, reducing resistance to flash floods to prevent the house from being washed away, and the stairs to the second floor are made wider to facilitate evacuation. The storehouse has the foundation of stone walls, built higher than the main house, and stores emergency food, daily necessity supplies, and even a small boat. Then around it, hedges and large trees were planted to control flow of water, and sometimes people even climbed up the tree to avoid water.
It began with Itsuryutei of Kiyomasa Katou, the feudal lord of the early Edo period, and Waju became gradually stronger, but it is told that more than 60 flood damages occurred by the early Showa era. In 1929, the government set the expected high water volume to be 5,000 cubic meters per second, however floods exceeding 8,000 cubic meters occurred in 1943 and 1945. This has led to further strengthening of dikes and the construction of diversion weirs, and nowadays the risk has been drastically reduced.
However, this has gradually changed the residents’ awareness of the river, and new population was added with the development of residential areas. Now, there are over 2,000 households. People used to live with the river symbiotically, forming a flood control community to emphasize a sense of solidarity, but they say this is also gradually diminishing. Is the culture of Waju also changing?