11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Floods

A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the sense of “flowing water”, the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual boundaries.

While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, it is not a significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas used by man like a village, city or other inhabited area.

Causes of Floods

floodsFloods occur in rivers, when flow exceeds the capacity of the river channel, particularly at bends or meanders. Floods often cause damage to homes and businesses if they are placed in natural flood plains of rivers. While flood damage can be virtually eliminated by moving away from rivers and other bodies of water, since time out of mind, people have lived and worked by the water to seek sustenance and capitalize on the gains of cheap and easy travel and commerce by being near water. That humans continue to inhabit areas threatened by flood damage is evidence that the perceived value of living near the water exceeds the cost of repeated periodic flooding.

Effects of Floods

1. Physical Damage – Can damage any type of structure, including bridges, cars, buildings, sewerage systems, roadways, and canals.
2. Water Supplies – Contamination of water. Clean drinking water becomes scarce.
3. Diseases – Unhygienic conditions. Spread of water-borne diseases.
4. Crops and food supplies – Shortage of food crops can be caused due to loss of entire harvest. However, lowlands near rivers depend upon river silt deposited by floods in order to add nutrients to the local soil.
5. Trees – Non-tolerant species can die from suffocation.
6. Transport - Transport links destroyed, so hard to get emergency aid to those who need it.

Most flood destruction is attributable to humans’ desire to live near picturesque coastlines and in river valleys. Aggravating the problem is a tendency for developers to backfill and build on wetlands that would otherwise act as natural flood buffers.

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