Heavy rainfalls have occurred in many regions of the world and failure to institute proper water control mechanisms can result to devastating results such as floods. Flooding refers to the excessive water run-off and can result to deaths of both animals and human beings, soil erosion, displacement of people, emergence of water-borne diseases, destruction of agricultural produce among others. In areas that receive excess rainfall, intensive measures that control the excess water are needed in order to prevent flooding. Dredging is one of the measures that can be undertaken to prevent flooding in rivers and coastal areas. It involves excavation of shallow seas with the purpose of removing sediments and sand and disposing of them in far areas in order to keep waterways navigable or keep public beaches in good conditions (Coghlan 2014). However, this paper pays high attention to the alternative methods to dredging in an effort of managing water flooding and outlining and evaluating their associated advantages and disadvantages.
The flooding can be controlled by the construction of artificial lagoons at the mouth of the river. For example, in Wales and England where heavy rainfall are being experienced between the month of December and January, construction of artificial lagoons helped in the control of flooding after the failure of dredging. These artificial lagoons help to slow the speed of the flowing water in the river and this slow speed facilitates the drainage of water and control flooding in the long run. In addition, the artificial lagoons can have multipurpose such as rearing of fish in large scale and also be a source of hydro-electric power that can serve a large population. Moreover, the construction of artificial lagoons can be a source of employment opportunities to many individuals. Furthermore, constructing artificial lagoons can serve as a source of tourist attraction site and this landscape can generate more revenues to the government (Kim 2012).
However, construction of artificial lagoons can be time consuming since it can take years to complete. This long duration of the construction process can facilitate the event of flooding disaster if the country only depends on an artificial lagoon in controlling floods. In addition, the construction of artificial lagoons diverts the attention and the resources of managing floods to it and thus creating a golden opportunity of a flood event. Consequently, the construction of artificial lagoons is much expensive and can force the associated governments to look for alternative sources of acquiring revenues such as increasing the taxation rates which increase the burden to the citizens (National Research Council 2004).
Climate change has also resulted to adverse effects in most areas especially in urban areas due to poor and out-dated urban storm water management (Great Britain 2004). Most of the urban areas have traditional infrastructures for draining storm water that have not considered the aspect of changing climate. For example, most sewerage system is at a risk of flooding because they have been designed to accommodate only sewage without considering the increase of water during the heavy rainy seasons. Redesigning these urban infrastructures can increase the drainage of excess rain water. In addition, redesigning the urban infrastructures can also create incorporate sieving wire mesh that can increase the trapping of solid wastes that clog drainage system and thus enhancing the reduction of flooding cases. In addition, redesigning the urban drainage facilities creates employment opportunities too many individuals (He, Valeo & Bouchart 2014).
However, redesigning urban infrastructures is expensive and may result to the government of the responding cities to look for alternative sources of acquiring the revenues such as increasing the taxation rates which increase the burden of citizens. In addition, it needs experts such as engineers in order to ensure efficient construction of these facilities (Vivian, Rogers & Williams 2005).
Moreover, in lowland areas that are prone to flooding, planting of trees that absorb more water such as eucalyptus can help to reduce flooding. In addition, planting these trees along river banks help to prevent the destruction of river banks that contributes greatly to flooding especially when these banks are eroded by excess water. Moreover, planting these trees in large scale provide employment of youths that are a source of income to them. In addition, these trees become a good source of timber and firewood to most people that can generate income after selling. The roots of these trees protrude to the river beds and can slow the speed of water allowing more time for the drainage of more water and this enhanced drainage lowers the cases of flooding. Moreover, the trees provide a serene atmosphere due to their provision of fresh air (Evans 2009).
However, planting of eucalyptus along river banks can lead to drying up of rivers which doing more harm than good. In addition, these eucalyptus trees tend to grow leafy especially in environments with adequate water. This tendency has the disadvantage of dropping so many leafs in the river that can lead to blocking of the flow of water and, therefore, elevating flooding cases (Evans 2009).
Consecutively, in rivers that experience flooding during the rainy seasons, constructing river diversions can help to reduce flooding cases in those areas. These river diversions help to reduce the amount of water in the original river and thus eliminating or reducing cases of flooding. Moreover, the diverted water can be directed into an irrigation scheme or in areas that have industries to ease water availability in those areas. Alternatively, the water can be diverted and directed to the communities that have few or no rivers and this water can benefit those communities by initiating projects such as irrigation that can generate extra income to them (United Nations 2003). Additionally, diverting water from the original river requires labour and thus it can create employment opportunities to the unemployed individuals.
Nevertheless, constructing river diversions is expensive due to the labour and machines that are required. In addition, the design needs experts people who understand the topography of the area where diversions can be constructed. Moreover, diverting water from the original river can pose a risk of flooding to the other areas where the diverted water is directed and this outweighs the purpose of the construction of river diversions . (Zoran, Michael & Abbott 2012).
Moreover, bagged sand can be inserted in rivers that experience flooding in an effort to slow the flow of water and, therefore, enhance the drainage of that water. The process requires two people whom one holding the bag and the other shovelling the sand in it. The bags increase the trapping of sand and other wastes that lead to flooding. However, the process is also expensive due to the resources required such as sand, bags labour among others (Sayers, 2013).
It is, therefore, evident that more extensive methods such as construction of artificial lagoons, redesigning of urban infrastructure, planting of eucalyptus trees river diversions and others can be required for preventing flooding cases. Furthermore, in some areas, a combination of various techniques can be undertaken when individual technique cannot manage to control flooding. Moreover, before undertaking these alternative methods to dredging, the responsible individuals, governments or any other organization should first consider the pros and cons that are associated with each plan. Considering these pros and cons of these methods would help to prevent more harm than good.
Coghlan, A., (2014).dredging would not have stopped massiveU.K floods. retrieved on 7th may 2014. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25030-dredging-would-not-have-stopped-massive-uk-floods.html#.U2qCQlz-Xw.
He, J.; Valeo, C; Bouchart, F.J.-C. (2014). Enhancing urban infrastructure investment planning practices with the changing climate. Retrieved on 7th may 2014. http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/21706912/enhancing-urban-infrastructure-investment-planning-practices-changing-climate
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Kim, Y. C. (2012). Coastal and ocean engineering practice. Singapore, World Scientific.
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Vivian, S., Rogers, W., & Williams, N. (2005). Climate change risks in building: an introduction. London, CIRIA.
United Nations. (2003). Guidelines on participatory planning and management for flood mitigation and preparedness.
Sayers, P. (2013). Flood risks management a strategic approach. Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Asian Development Bank. http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2013/flood-risk-management.pdf. Evans, J. (2009). Planted forests uses, impacts, and sustainability. Wallingford, UK, Published jointly by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Cabi Pub. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=455754
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