Hydrology - Case Studies

Case Studies for Flooding - Cockermouth and Bangladesh

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  • Created by: James
  • Created on: 22-05-11 15:04

Cumbria Floods - November 2009 (MEDC)


  • 1 death - Cockermouth policeman Bill Barker
  • Communities cut off
  • 39 Schools closed
  • 1500 homes flooded
  • 1200 homes without electricity
  • Heavy losses in business
  • 21 bridges closed, 6 collapsed, 1200 checked for damage
  • £2.5 million lost in tourist income
  • Large number of trees uprooted
  • Contamination of water by sewage
  • £3.2 billion cost estimate
  • Floodwaters up to 2.5 metres above average

A flood on this scale happens roughly once every 1000 years in this area of the UK

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Responses to Cumbria Floods

  • Police asked people to apply basic common sense to the flood
  • Engineers tried to monitor bridges for structural damage
  • Impassable roads were closed
  • Mountain rescue teams deployed for search and rescue
  • Cumbria Flood Recovery recieved £50,000 from the Cumbrian Council
  • Cumbria Flood Recovery recieved £25,000 from Allerdale Council
  • The North West Development agency also donated £50,000
  • Money is still donated to date
  • As of January 2011, Cumbria Flood Recovery had recieved £2.5 million.
  • A new footbridge was opened to reconnect local communities
  • Cockermouth Station fully reopened on 29/06/10
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Bangladesh Floods: July-September 2004 (LEDC)

Human Causes

  • Deforestation in Nepal & Tibet
  • Impact of enhanced global warming
  • Urbanisation
  • Flood defences failing (artificial levees)
  • Indian Dams affecting hydrological cycle

Physical Causes

  • Himalayan Snow-Melt
  • Monsoon rain
  • Cyclones and Storm waves cause heavy rains
  • 70% of land <10m above sea level
  • Most of Bangladesh is on a flood plain
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Impacts & Responses - Bangladesh


  • 50%+ land area flooded
  • 1000's of deaths
  • Millions made homeless
  • Lack of drinking water
  • Diseases spread e.g. diarrhoea, bronchitis
  • When the water was drained, villages were left buried under sand and silt, brown fields had rotten crops and bridges and roads were totally wrecked
  • $1bn+ economic cost


  • The Bangladesh government distributed money and tonnes of rice
  • They also provided fresh water, purification tablets & sanitation services
  • Aid agencies provided boats, medicines, drinking water and rehab programmes
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Kielder Water - Supply and Transfer

  • 40 miles NW of Newcastle
  • Just a few miles South of the Scottish border

It is a multi-purpose scheme which was constructed during 1975 - 1982 and it cost £185 million

  • 12km long
  • Stores 188,000 million litres (largest in UK)
  • Serves Tyneside, Wearside and Teeside - fed by underground springs. Water level is maintained regardless of prevailing climatic conditions
  • H.E.P. supply purpose
  • One of Europe's largest man-made lakes.
  • It houses the Kielder Hydroelectric Plant - England's biggest H.E.P. scheme.
  • An equivalent carbon saving of 8600 tonnes of CO2/year.
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Flood Control and Water Transfer - Kielder Water

  • Flood Control Purpose
  • The water held by Kielder Reservoir is used to help regulate flow into the River Tyne

Water Transfer

  • Water can be pumped from the Kielder Reservoir to the River Derwent or directly into Derwent Reservoir. It can also be used to pump water into the River Tees when demand is high

Leisure Purpose

  • Over 250,000 visitors/year
  • Watersports, hiking, mountain biking, camping + associated employment opportunities
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