Water On The Land - Case Studies


Flooding: Carlisle

Carlise, England, is a rich part of the world.

The river Eden flooded Carlisle on 8th January, 2005.


  • Heavy rainfall - 200 mm in 36 hours. The rainfall saturated the soil, increasing surface runoff
  • Carlisle is a large urban area - impermeable materials increased runoff 
  • The discharge reached 1520 cumecs (usually only an average of 52 cumecs

Primary effects

  • 3 deaths
  • 3000 homeless 
  • 4 schools flooded severely
  • 350 businesses shut down
  • 70 000 addresses lost power
  • Roads and bridges were damaged
  • Rivers were polluted with rubbish and sewage
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Flooding: Carlisle (continued)

Secondary effects

  • Children lost out on education
  • Stress-related illnesses increased
  • 3000 jobs were at risk in affected business

Immediate responses

  • People evacuated from flooded areas
  • Reception areas opened around Carlisle to provide food and drinks
  • Temporary accommodation set up for the homeless

Long-term responses

  • Community groups set up to provide emotional support and practical help
  • A flood defence scheme has been set up to improve flood defences
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Flooding: Bangladesh and India

Bangladesh and India, South Asia, is a poor part of the world.

The rivers Brahmaputra and Ganges flooded in July and August, 2007.


  • Heavy rainfall - 900 mm in July. The soil saturated and increased runoff
  • Snow from glaciers in the Himalayan mountains melted
  • The peak discharge of both rivers happened at the same time

Primary effects

  • 2000 deaths
  • 25 million homeless
  • 44 schools destroyed
  • Many factories closed and lots of livestock were killed
  • 112 000 houses were destroyed in India
  • 10 000 km of roads destroyed
  • Rivers were polluted with rubbish and sewage
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Flooding: Bangladesh and India (continued)

Secondary effects

  • Children lost out on education
  • 100 000 caught water-borne diseases 
  • Flooded fields reduced basmati rice yields and prices rose 10%
  • Many farmers and factory workers became unemployed

Immediate responses

  • Many people didn't evacuate and blocked transport links slowed down attempted evacuations
  • Other governments and international charities distributed food, water and medical aid
  • Rescue boats were sent to help those stranded

Long-term responses

  • International charities funded the rebuilding of homes and the agriculture/fishing industries
  • Some homes have been rebuilt on stilts to lessen the risk of damage from future flooding
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UK Reservoir: Rutland Water

Rutland water is a reservoir in the East Midlands

  • The dam was built and Rutland Water was created during the 1970s
  • The reservoir covers 12 km² area. It's sources are the River Welland and the River Nene
  • Rutland water was designed to supply the East Midlands with more water
  • Areas around the reservoir are used as a nature reserve and for recreation

Economic impacts

  • Boosts the local economy - popular tourist attraction due to wildlife and recreation facilities
  • 6 km² of land was flooded to create it. Farmland was lost so farmers lost their livelihoods

Social impacts

  • Recreational activites - sailing, windsurfing, birdwatching and cycling
  • Jobs created to build and maintain the reservoir as well as to run the reserve and activities
  • Schools use the reservoir for educational visits
  • Two villages were demolished in order to build the reservoir
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UK Reservoir: Rutland Water (continued)

Environmental impacts

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest - wildlife is protected
  • Hundreds of species of birds live around it and thousands of waterfowl come over the winter
  • Variety of habitats are found around the reservoir - marshes, mudflats and lagoons
  • A large area of land was flooded to create the reservoir, which destroyed some habitats

Rutland water has to be managed sustainably

The supply of water has to be sustainable. People should be able to get all the water they need to day without it affecting the amount of water future generations have access to.

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