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What is soft engineering?
· Soft engineering are protection schemes that work with nature instead of
against it, so they are much more sustainable than other hard engineering
methods.
· Relatively cheap compared to hard engineering.
· It is used along with harder engineering schemes on some rivers.
· Some examples are afforestation, flood prediction and land use zoning.
· Soft engineering is often more attractive to look at than hard engineering.
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Afforestation
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This is when trees are deliberately planted in areas around the river,
where there has not previously been any vegetation.
· It helps to prevent a flood by preventing surface run-off and
increasing interception and evapotranspiration. This means that the
water takes longer to reach the river (increases lag time), which
lowers the peak discharge.
· All in all, there is a reduced risk of the river flooding and if it should
flood, a lot of the force and velocity from the water is absorbed by
the vegetation, so the flood becomes less damaging.
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Advantages Disadvantages
· Fairly Cheap. · Increases fire risk.
· Natural. · If trees are planted in certain
patterns (i.e- straight lines of trees),
· Environmentally friendly. it may not necessarily look natural.
· Creates habitats for wildlife. · Not as effective as some other
· Looks attractive. management strategies, such as
· Jobs are provided (people are dams or levees.
employed to plan, implement and
maintain the strategy).
· Regulates stream temperature by
providing shade.
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Afforestation of Damodar River Basin,
India.
· There was 40million hectares of land prone to flooding in India.
· The Damodar River rises in Jharkhard and flows South-East into West
Bengal. It joins the river Hoogly just after Kolkata. After Durgapur, West
Bengal, the river changes its course and splits into 2 different channels
(The Damodar Channel and the Kanka-Mundeshwari channel). Eventually,
the main channel reaches the Hoogly River once again and joins the Bay of
Bengal.
· Annual rainfall varies between 1000mm and 1800mm.
· Delhi, Kolkata and many sites of industrial importance had a risk of
flooding. They were protected with artificial levees but heavy floods often
breached them.
· A management plan was put in place, which involved the afforestation of
121,500 hectares of land. *…read more

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