A problem of geometric geography

Tom Whipple, “Science Correspondent”, of The Times has a piece on how to rescue the flooded Somerset Levels:

Building a vast tidal lagoon in the Severn Estuary would be a better way to combat floods in the Somerset Levels than dredging and would generate a significant amount of renewable energy, a senior hydrologist has said.

Roger Falconer, of Cardiff University, argued that the government decision to ignore expert advice and dredge rivers in the region was not just largely pointless but contradicted the “fundamental laws of fluid dynamics”.

Here’s the bit that has me totally confused:

“In the Somerset Levels, you’ve virtually got a horizontal water slope,” Professor Falconer said. “The real solution to flooding is to increase the slope. Raising the land is out of the question, so what you need to do is effectively drop the sea level.”

See my problem: a horizontal water slope, whether virtually or not, seems self-contradictory.

As for effectively dropping the sea level, there is a precedent. Send for Cecil B. DeMille.

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