Hard Engineering

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  • Created by: yott33
  • Created on: 14-02-16 15:02

Hard Engineering

Hard engineering defences are man-made structures that reduce flooding.

  • Expensive to build and maintain
  • Disrupt natural processes
  • Not aesthetically pleasing
  • Can make flooding disasters worse if defence breaks.

Types of hard engineering:

  • Dams
  • Channel Straightening
  • Levees
  • Diversion Spillways
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Dams

What they are

Dams are huge walls built across rivers. A reservoir is formed behind the dam to catch floodwater to prevent flooding downstream. Water is released steadily throughout the year.

Strengths

  • Turbines often built into dams to generate electricity
  • Steady water release = irrigation of land below dam throughout the year
  • Reservoir can be used for recreational activities.

Weaknesses

  • Very expensive
  • Land has to be flooded to create reservoir = farmland destroyed and people forced to move
  • Affect wildlife
  • Trap sediment = can cause dam to fail and cause inc. erosion downstream
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Channel Straightening

What it is

Meanders are removed by building artificial cut-throughs so water flows faster = flooding reduced as water drains downstream quickly.

Weaknesses

  • Flooding may occur downstream instead
  • More erosion occurs downstream due to river flowing faster
  • Disrupts wildlife habitats
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Levees

What they are

Most common form of hard engineering. They are man-made embankments built along rivers so the river can hold more water without overflowing.

Strengths

  • Allows floodplain to be built on

Weaknesses

  • Quite expensive
  • Risk of severe flooding if breached.
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Diversion Spillways

What they are

Diversion spillways are channels that take water elsewhere if water level is too high.

Weaknesses

  • If spillways are overwhelmed, water can flood areas not used to flooding = can cause bigger problems. 
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