Somerset levels and impacts of flooding

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  • Somerset Levels - Winter 2014 & Impacts of flooding
    • Location
      • Low lying region in SW England
        • Prone to flooding
          • Surface is impermeable
    • Physical Causes
      • Impermeable clay bed rock
        • = no infiltration = no surface run off = water reaches river faster
      • Main coverage by vegetation is grass
        • =Lower interception levels
      • Southern England received 207mm rainfall January 2014
        • (2x expected for that month)
      • Severe winter storms in Dec and Jan 2013/14
        • Parts of Midlands experienced highest rainfall since 1910
          • Restricts infiltration= soil less saturated
    • Human Causes
      • River Tone and Parrett not been dredged in 20 years
        • Leaves farms and homes without flood defence
      • Extra water pumped from Taunten and Bridgwater as part of flood alleviation scheme to protect new homes built on former flood plains
    • Impacts of flooding
      • Impacts on people -
        • +Replenishes water supplies
        • +Provides sediment which naturally fertilises soils of the floodplain
        • +Some countries rely on floods to help crops to grow
        • -Loss and damage to property causes higher insurance cover for homes
        • -Spreads water born diseases eg cholera
        • -People and animals become homeless and sometimes down
        • -Builds are destroyed
      • Impacts on environment -
        • +Fish benefit as they can breed in floodwater
        • +In dry areas, floods bring relief from drought providing drinking water for wild animals
        • -Flooding can wash chemicals into local rivers and pollute them
        • -Wild animals may drown/ lose habitat


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