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Case Studies - River Landscapes
200,000 people were evacuated from their homes in north-east Pennsylvania due to rising waters on the
Susquehanna River in 2006. Largest evacuation effort took place in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 9 people
were killed due to the floods and the destruction of roads.
More than half of Mexico's 2.1m residents were affected by the flooding of the Grijava River in 2007.
70% of the state was under water and 100% of the crops were destroyed. 300,000 people were trapped in
In 2007 there were unusually heavy seasonal rains in Bolivia which caused rivers to burst their banks. 19
people died as the Rio Grande flooded, a tributary of the Amazon. 340,000 were affected and 100,000
were left homeless. Roads in Santa Cruz and Beni were blocked by mudslides.
As the Danube River flooded in 2006, homes in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria were under water. In
Bulgaria 2m people were affected and 20 were killed, while 10,000 lost their homes. A tent city for 1,200
was put up near Vidin. The damage to the economy is estimated to be £346m; with huge amounts of
farmland and infrastructure destroyed, including the railway system which was severely damaged. In
Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, some streets were under water for several days resulting in evacuations.
Hundreds of people were taken to safety in Smederevo, 40km east of Belgrade.
River Management - River Nene
Heavy rain on 9 April 1998 caused the River Nene and Grand Union Canal to overflow, which led to the
death of 2 people. This resulted in the decision for the River Nene to be managed to protect
Northampton against future flooding.
In 2002 a 450m clay flood embankment was built in Weedon. This raised the level of land by 6.8m, and
created a flood storage area behind the embankment - during a flood, water can be stored here, which
prevents water from flowing downstream and creates a habitat for aquatic flora and fauna.
A housing estate called Upton Square was built above the level of the floodplain, which is possible due to
the management of the area which has made the area safe from flooding.
In 2003 the warning system was upgraded, aiming to give people 2 hours' notice before the possibility of
a flood. This is being tested in Far Cotton and St James areas.
A flood retention reservoir has been built at Billing near the aquadrome.
4m high floodwalls have been installed at Foot Meadow to protect housing, industry and the Castle Inn.
This has created an open area of land where the river can flood; the debris has been cleared from here so
the river velocity would increase and rainwater can be carried away faster.
Gabion boxes were added at Foot Meadow which protects the river banks from erosion, protecting the
new housing beside the river.
In 2007 £8m was spent around Upton, near Sixfields; this money was used to create a washland where
water can be diverted from the River Nene in a controlled manner, which will reduce the risk of flooding
downstream. This water is stored with the help of 6m embankments at Upton Way, which store the
water during times of heavy rain and release it steadily back into the River Nene when the flooding has
stopped. The road is also protected by a 2m high concrete floodwall.
The river channel capacity at Upton was increased by building earth embankments set back 10m from the
river which have footballs along the top and have been visually improved by planting trees.
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Revision Notes - River Landscapes
River becomes wider and deeper as it is joined by smaller rivers (tributaries).
A confluence is the point at which rivers meet.
The river valley becomes less steep, the gradient decreases and the shape of the valley becomes
more rounded (from a V to a U).
A drainage basin is the land drained by a river system. The boundary of the drainage basin (usually
made up of highland) is called the watershed.…read more