Rivers Case Studies

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  • Rivers Case Studies
    • Causes of Flooding
      • Cumbria, UK (2009) (GNP $37,360)
        • flooding lasted a week
        • total land area flooded was 6000km2
        • Physical Causes
          • 314mm in 24 hours (heavy rainfall
          • 400mm in 72 hours (prolonged rainfall)
          • ground already saturated from antecedent rain
          • Cockermouth located on floodplain at on a confluence
        • Human Causes
          • Cockermouth built on a floodplain
          • bridge across the river at Gote Road (damming effect)
      • Pakistan (2010) (GNP $2,710)
        • flooding lasted 3 weeks
        • 1/5 of Pakistan's total land area submerged (69,000km2 crop land)
        • Physical Causes
          • prolonged, heavy rainfall 274mm in 24 hours, more than half normal monsoon fell in a week (not 3 months)
          • unusual conditions in jet stream, caused by the sun
          • river Indues carries sediment from Himalayas
        • Human Causes
          • people live close to river for water and fertile soils
          • 2/3 depend on farming for income
          • levees built were breached and worsened situation
          • Swat Valley still damaged by 2005 earthquake
          • deforestation in Himalayas
          • poor infrastructure so rescue teams struggled recuing
    • Impacts of Flooding
      • Cumbria, UK (2009) (GNP $37360)
        • Social
          • 500 people staying in shelters or relatives
          • death toll: 1
          • commutes now increased (from bridges destroyed)
          • 5 high schools and 13 primary schools shut
          • 1 year on, 150 homes uninhabited and 198 sought psychological help,
        • Economic
          • 20 road and 200 foot bridges destroyed
          • businesses cut off
          • total cost of damages £276 million
          • 110 farms affected
          • 1 year on, 3 bridges not rebuilt
            • Social
              • 500 people staying in shelters or relatives
              • death toll: 1
              • commutes now increased (from bridges destroyed)
              • 5 high schools and 13 primary schools shut
              • 1 year on, 150 homes uninhabited and 198 sought psychological help,
          • insurance claims totalled £100 million
          • tourism lost £15 million, £2.5 in cancelled bookings
      • Pakistan (2010) (GNP $2,710)
        • Social
          • 20 million injured or made homless
          • death toll: 2,000
          • 10 million drinking unsafe water
          • damage to bridges and health care services reduced aid to millions
          • 11,000 schools damaged and disrupted
          • more affected than 2001 tsunami and 2010 Haitian earthquake combined
          • waterborne illnesses (diarrhoea, cholera), malaria and malnutrition increased
        • Economic
          • 100s of bridges and 200 health facilities damaged
            • damage to bridges and health care services reduced aid to millions
          • total economic cost £10 million
          • farming severly hit, Pakistan previously 4th largest producer of cotton
          • 80% fields waterlogged, 1.2 million livestock and 6 million poultry lost
    • Hard Engineering River Management
      • The Three Gorges Dam, China (1994-2009)
        • largest dam in the world, 2.3km long and 1km wide
        • cost £25 billion to build
        • Advantages
          • (predicted) 10% of China's electricity provided, decreasing coal burning by 40 million tonnes/year,
            • reducing carbon emissions by 120 million tonnes/year
          • reduces risks of flooding downstream, saving millions of lives
          • navigation and trade up Yangtzeeriver increased
          • jobs created through construction and maintenance
        • Disadvantages
          • instead of 10%, only 3% of electricity comes from HEP
            • (predicted) 10% of China's electricity provided, decreasing coal burning by 40 million tonnes/year,
              • reducing carbon emissions by 120 million tonnes/year
          • reservoir flooded 1 million homes, as well as fertile farmland
          • 1000s of historical sites submerges
          • millions will die in an eartearthquake
          • silt trapped behind dam makes erosion greater downstream
          • wildlife threatened, including the extinction of the Baiji (river dolphin)
    • Soft Engineering River Management
      • River Quaggy, London
        • 17km long, a tributary of the River Thames
        • the QWAG set up in 1990 initially to prevent flood alleviation scheme
        • the river had channel modification and the area became derelict and run down
          • the QWAG set up in 1990 initially to prevent flood alleviation scheme
        • in 2002, QWAG organised to bulldoze 300m of the modified channel at Chinbrook Meadows
        • new floodplains set up, as well as an underground culvert, so water flows freely across Sutcliffe Park
        • more wildlife by the river and it has become a tourist attraction with more people getting involved in its conservation

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