The River Severn Flooding 2007

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The River Severn Flooding 2007
Location and background
The river is 220 miles long and is the longest river in
the United Kingdom. The drainage basin that
surrounds it is 11,419km2.
The flooding arose because of a combination
between physical and human factors. The death
toll reached 7 nationally and the damage to
properties reached £6 million and 500,000
properties were affected.
The physical causes of floods:
June/July 2007 were one of the wettest months on
record with an average rainfall of 5.5inches (which
is double the normal June/July average). Some
areas around the Severn River basin received a
months' worth of rain in 2 hours and this was one of the contributing factors of the floods. A large
amount of run-off from the basin caused the Severn to burst its banks.
On the other hand, the floodplain surrounding the River Severn is large and wide which means
there is a decreased risk of flooding as the run-off is slower than in a smaller basin with a steep
gradient. This is why flooding was also detrimental in areas with steep gradients as the water
came in faster than anything could be done about it. The unusual position of the jet stream was
also blamed for the bad weather as it moved several miles south and did not allow the warm air to
rise from Europe.
The river Severn has many tributaries and sources in its river and this encouraged more water to
move downstream. There was a lack of infiltration because of the newly developed area and this
made the flood water collect above ground level.
The ways in which human activities within the river basin may have increased the risk and
impact of the flood:
Humans can increase the risk of flooding through developments and urbanisation that uses
impermeable materials and causes and increase in surface run-off. 25 reports have been ignored
by the government since 1997 to improve the defences. If these changes had been made, the
flooding would have either not have happened or have been less severe.
Assess the impacts of flooding on different settlements:
Gloucestershire received 320 times more precipitation than in the last 30 years and this lead to
the Mythe water treatment plant being damaged and left the area without drinking water for 10
days. Tewkesbury was also severely affected because of its proximity to the river. The facilities the
settlements had influenced their impacts. The access of the areas prevented early help and this
led to more damage in rural villages. Settlements nearer to the river were also more affected as
well as those that were either at or below sea level. The gradient of the land also determines how
quickly the area will become flooded and this also makes it difficult to rescue those in their homes.

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In conclusion, it was the vast amount of water present in a short amount of time that caused the
floods along with inadequate protection.…read more


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