Hard and Soft River Engineering

Pros and Cons, and descriptions of various river engineering types

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  • River Engineering
    • Soft Engineering
      • Floodplain Zoning
        • Policies to manage development on or near the floodplain
        • Very cheap way of reducing property damage
        • Decreases surface runoff
        • Housing may be in short supply
        • Enforcing is harder in LICs
      • Washlands
        • Very cost effective
        • Provides animal habitats
        • Deposits fertile silt
        • Large areas occupied and cannot be built on
        • Productive land turned into marsh
      • Warning Systems
        • Early flood warning in the form of media
        • Low cost
        • Electronic systems are very effective
        • Valuables can be moved before flooding
        • Sirens used could be vandalised or break
        • Limited time to prepare
      • Afforestation
        • Trees planted in basin to intercept rainfall
        • Relatively low cost
        • Improves quality of environment
        • Soil erosion prevented by root systems
        • Very sustainable
        • Conifers are often planted, making soil acidic
        • Increased fire risk
    • Hard Engineering
      • Embankments
        • Raised banks along the river
        • Can be used as paths
        • Concrete banks slow down erosion
        • Earth embankments provide animal habitats
        • Banks often not high enough
        • Concrete embankments are ugly
      • Channelisation
        • Widening and deepening of a river, to increase water velocity
        • Effective at protecting the immediate area
        • Long lasting
        • Flooding more likely downstream
        • Unnatural and visually intrusive
      • Flood Relief Channels
        • The alteration and diversion of floodwater
        • Safer for people living close to river
        • Can be used for recreation
        • Require a lot of land
        • Extremely expensive
      • Dams
        • Built along the river to control discharge
        • Can be used for hydroelectric power
        • Very expensive
        • Land lost to new resevoir
        • Sediment can be trapped behind wall, causing more erosion downstream
      • Flood Walls
        • A vertical barrier made from concrete
        • Don't take up much space
        • Easily erected
        • Hard to assemble so water doesn't leak
      • Storage Areas
        • A depression close to the river that overflows accordingly
        • Natural looking
        • Doesn't harm the environment
        • Needs a large area of land
        • Only used when river overflows


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