Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Flood prevention methods

Flood can be defined as an overflow of a water-body (such as a river, lake or sea), which may result in the submersion of the nearby low land. This can happen because of a variety of reasons, such as heavy rainfall, melting snow, tsunamis, as well as structural failure of water containing and controlling bodies (such as dams, levees, canals or artificial lakes). A flood can cause human and livestock casualties; destroy crops and forest cover; as well as damage private property & civic infrastructure, besides having an indirect impact due to contamination of drinking water, epidemics and food scarcity – all of which can stall economic growth.

Flood Prevention Methods

As a result of the huge impact that floods can have, situations that could potentially lead to such a natural disaster should be carefully monitored and controlled, while also instituting disaster management measures and taking appropriate mitigation measures, so as to limit the damage. Therefore, all the requisite checks and measures that can aid in flood monitoring and warning, as well as prevention in certain cases, are of utmost importance.

Structural Measures to Prevent Floods

A civil structure that acts as barricades to the overflowing water is an important flood prevention mechanism. This can be achieved by having levees and dams across water-bodies.

Flood forecasting and warning can also play a crucial role in ensuring timely action to prevent flood, or limiting the impact of such floods if they do occur. Typical forecasting measures will include actively monitoring the water-level, or closely observing metrological patterns so as to predict unusual weather conditions that can potentially cause floods.

Adaptation of Flood Prone Areas

Since floods are a reality of nature that cannot always be done away with, people need to also adapt to living with such natural hazards, while becoming sensitive to the fact that unscrupulous development (resulting in depletion of forest cover, encroachment of banks and river-sides) severely increases the likelihood of the occurrence of such events.

Other problems related to flooding (such as disruption of the sewage network, landslides, erosion, pollution, widespread epidemics and stalling of all forms of transport) also require proactive measures, if the impact is to be minimized. Therefore, any flood management initiative needs to focus on preventing such occurrences where possible, while ensuring that alternatives are made easily available otherwise.

Concerted Human Action

Human population also needs to take more affirmative action, when it comes to preparing for natural disasters such as floods. Any flood prevention strategy should be targeted at the whole river basin or catchment area, and encourage a collaborative action plan (even trans-national measures, where required) to better manage water, land and other resources that can get affected by floods. A coordinated action over the long term and on a sustained basis is more likely to result in the best defense mechanism against such natural disasters.


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