causes and impacts of flooding CASE STUDIES

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Rivers, Floods and Management Case Studies
MEDC flood:
River Severn Flood, July 2007
Causes:
Physical:
Weather:
Jet stream was further south than usual > a series of low pressure depressions
More than 387mm of rain in England and Wales in the three months up to the 23rd July
(more than double the average) ­ the river was already at full capacity
Relief:
Location > starts on Plynlimon in central wales > relief rain from hills and mountains
Surrounding land and upland slopes are steep > fast surface runoff
Lowland section has a wide flood plain and many tributaries > lot of land that can flood
Soil/ Geology:
Soils were at wettest in summer for over 50 years > ground already saturated > no
infiltration > more water in surface runoff
Mountains made of impermeable rocks > water flowed off, trying to make it to the
rivers
Human:
Land Use:
Houses around river with paved front gardens > water cannot infiltrate
Farms in upland wales have installed drainage to improve pasture > water flows more
easily to river and tributaries, adding to river discharge
Settlement Sites:
Towns like Tewkesbury are confluence towns (two settlements come together on low
mounds of the flood plain) ­ urban creep has pushed new housing and industrial
developments onto the low floodplain ­ all water will flow to these areas
Building on the floodplain > water cannot infiltrate
Mismanagement:
Storm drains could not cope with huge quantities of water > roads were flooded
Llyn Clywedon reservoir was already full > could not hold any flood water
The demountable barriers (the flood defence) couldn't be delivered to Upton-on-Severn
Bridges on the river ­ narrower > couldn't carry as much water, things got caught
Sluice gates were opened upstream > more water downstream
Consequences

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Social:
2,000 people trapped in Norwich Hotel as water rose 6 feet
2,000 people spent the night in emergency centres
20 patients had to be evacuated from Tewkesbury Hospital by the Red Cross
420,000 people in Gloucestershire without drinking water because the water treatment
works were damaged
13 people killed
44,600 homes flooded
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service attended 1,800 calls in 48 hours
Environmental:
Roughly 42,000 hectares of land was destroyed
Crop damage and reduction in yield
Cereal crops flooded in June were lost…read more

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Collapse of old earth dams in Madhya Pradesh, India > further flooding
Consequences:
Social:
Over 2000 people died ­ people were reluctant to evacuate (didn't want to leave land
and livestock unattended) ­ children couldn't swim ­ poor transport links (evacuation
was slow)
Wells became polluted ­ 100,000 people caught water-borne diseases
25 million people were made homeless
112,000 homes destroyed in India ­ porous mud bricks became saturated
Dhaka (Bangladesh's capital) was inundated ­ especially poorer districts and shanty
towns near the river
4,000…read more

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