River flood at a regional scale: 2007 River Flood

The river Severn case study for a flood at a regional scale spilt into four sections: key points, causes, effects and solutions.

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Key Points

River Severn

May, June, July 2007

Source: Plynlimon, Wales

Mouth: Bristol Channel

Course: travels east through Wales into England, reaches Shrewsbury, then travels south until it reaches the mouth

Length: 354km

Drainage basin: 11,420km2

Places affected: (counties) Worcestershire, Shropshire, Powys, Gloustershire (town) Tewksbury, Berkshore, Abington

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Climate Climate change (global warming) causes more extreme weather. A very dry April caused the ground to become dry and cracked, so hard for infiltration to occur. May and June were the wettest on records. A jet stream kept drier conditions away from the UK. Then 16 cm of rain fell in 24 hours. (300% of rain fall for the three months)

Drainage Basin 11,420km2. Biggest in England and Wales. River Severn has 12 large tributaries which means the water reaches the river quickly. A large drainage basin means lots of water will flow to the river. Steep relief near the source increase surface run-off. Waterlogged/saturated soil means water cannot infiltrate. Valley's are low laying so the floods spread quickly.

Human Impermable material has been put on the flood plains (eg. buildings, tarmac, concrete). Drains failed to work as they became too full. Less vegation to intercept and transpire.

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Short term 350,000 people were without water, due to it being contanimated and burst water pipes. Loss of electricity. Bussiness temporarily shut. Disruption on motorway and railway networks. Flights cancelled. Towns where cut off, so they had no help. 

Long term 7000 houses and 1300 bussinesses damaged, these needed repair which may damage the economy. 5 people died, which meant families grieved. Killed wildlife and crops damaged, which means farmers time is wasted and they get no income for that harvest. This means there will be a rise in food prices. Hospitals, schools etc shut. People living on flood plains may not be able to get home insurance anymore and house prices in those areas will go down. People will be prepared for floods in the future. National cost of flood defences will increase taxes.

Groups of people affected 

  • Bussiness: insurance companies, small local shops, farmers.
  • Families: schools shut so adults can't go to work. Homes damaged.
  • Eldery people: People can't get access to them to help them cope with the floods.
  • Emergancy services: stretched as lots of people need help
  • Local authority & national government (COBRA etc): help people/prevent floods in the future
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Short term Large scale evacuation. RAF, army and emergancy services were sent to help evacuate people and bring water and food supplies. Boats and helicopters used to rescue people and deliever food. Sand bags were sent out to help people protect their homes. Temporary flood barriers were put in place.

Long term Better flood warnings as some people may not have had access to them. Improve weather forecasts so floods dont takes us by suprise. No more properties built on flood plains, to stop the amount of impermable material increasing. Try to get people to move away from confluences and other key flood points (but where to?) Hard and soft engineering schemes will be put in place eg. flood walls.

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