Hard and Soft Engineering

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  • Hard Engineering
    • Involves technology in order to control rivers
    • Dams and resevoirs
      • Controls amount of discharge and water is held back and released in a controlled way
      • Very expensive
      • Often used to generate hydroelectric power
      • Collected sediment causes erosion downstream
      • People can lose their homes for dams to be built
    • Straighten Meanders
      • A river channel may be made wider or deeper
      • Meanders make the route longer, so if there is a flood the area will take longer to clear
      • Results in more water downstream
    • Man made levees
    • Immediate results but can make future problems
  • Soft Engineering
    • Less interference and looks to work alongside natural processes
    • Afforestation
      • Trees are planted close to rivers which means more interception of rainwater and lower discharge
        • Less surface run off
      • Low cost and enhances habitat
    • Cheaper and work with environment
    • Flood Warnings
      • Enables people to prepare and prevent life-loss
      • Might not be effective if local governments are not good (LEDC)
    • Flood Plain Zoning
      • Organises land so land near river is not built on
      • Restricts development


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