GCSE Geography: Rivers and Soft Engineering Options

22nd August 2017

GCSE Geography Revision - Made Easy!

Everything you need to know about Rivers and Soft Engineering Options!


Just as with a coastline, rivers are prone to flooding in bad weather conditions. Rivers flood when rainfall is too heavy for the river's capacity to be able to withstand. The water level can either simply rise above the height of the river bank, or can create large amounts of pressure on the banks causing them to collapse or give way, flooding the surrounding area, called a flood plain.


There are two groups of methods for controlling floods around a river - soft and hard engineering options. Soft options often see the use of strategy involving the natural scenery around a river. Hard options often see man-made, constructed/manufactured pieces of equipment used to stop or lessen the damage caused by flooding.


Examples of Soft Engineering Options for flood management along a river:


  • Afforestation - This option involves planting vast amounts of trees and similar vegetation along a river bank. This incurs a higher amount of inception of river water and rain water during periods of bad weather, lowering river discharge (the amount of water in the river). This is a relatively inexpensive option and improves the environmental quality of the basin.


  • Managed Flooding - The river is allowed to flood low value areas of land (land without agrictultural practises or settlements), in order to prevent flooding in areas with housing and industry.


  • Planning - Government bodies put in policies to control development in and around a flood plain. This reduces the likelihood of floods and risk of property damage. This can be aggrivating in the case of regions that have a shortage of housing available. The policies can also be potentially harder to impliment in LEDCs.


Environmentalist groups usually prefer the option of soft engineering because it promotes less damage to environments and less disruption of settlements. Government bodies usually prefer hard engineering options because they can generate income and profits.


Any flood management engineering option must be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, as this will make sure that future generations are not impacted by the decisions made to stop flooding today.


Make sure to listen to our music video on Soft Engineering Options for flood management in rivers, remember all the lyrics, and take a shot at our test!


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