Floods can bring both advantages and disadvantages to an area. Floods can deposit rich, fertile alluvium on agricultural areas. Also, flood water can replenish irrigation channels. On the other hand floods can destroy food supplies, homes and transport infrastructures.
Causes of flooding
Deforestation – Cutting down trees causes increased run-off (water flowing over the surface of the earth). Rain water reaches rivers faster. Flooding becomes more likely.
Urbanisation – Man-made surfaces such as concrete result in greater run-off. Rain water reaches rivers faster and can cause flooding.
Solutions to flooding
Planting more trees reduces run-off and increases interception.
Although very expensive, dams can significantly reduce the risk of flooding downstream
These are man-made embankments constructed along the edge of the river. They increase the capacity of the channel to prevent the overflow of water.
The video below shows a levee constructed at Cockermouth, Cumbria following the 2009 floods.
Flood Defence Barriers
Similar to levees, only constructed from man-made materials flood defence barriers increase the channel size of a river which prevents the overflow of water.
The video below shows flood defence barriers at Cockermouth, constructed after the 2009 floods.