Natural Levee Case Study

Case study: coping with flooding in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is an LEDC. The land is densely populated [densely populated: Where the number of people per square kilometre is high. ]. Most of the land forms a delta [delta: A landform formed at the mouth of a river. ] from three main rivers - Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Twenty-five per cent of Bangladesh is less than 1 metre above sea level. Flooding is an annual event as the rivers burst their banks. Bangladesh also experiences many tropical cyclones [tropical storm: A low pressure system in the tropical latitudes which has high winds and rainfall. Can be called a cyclone or hurricane. ]. The low-lying land means it is easily flooded from the coastal waters.

Advantages to living in Bangladesh

  • The flat floodplains of the delta are very fertile [fertile: A soil which is rich in nutrients. ].
  • Rice is grown.

Disadvantages to living in Bangladesh

  • The low-lying islands are very vulnerable. They get flooded easily. It is difficult to protect them.
  • There are poor communications - many locals do not own their own telephone or television. It is difficult to get flood warnings out.

How can the risk of flooding be reduced?

Rice farmer in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh is an LEDC - it therefore does not have money to implement large schemes.
  • It is always going to be threatened with flooding, so the focus is on reducing the impact.
  • The Flood Action Plan is funded by the World Bank. It funds projects to monitor flood levels, and construct flood banks/artificial levees [levee: Ridges or banks formed by deposits of alluvium left behind by the periodic flooding of rivers. Can also be artificially constructed banks or walls. ].
  • More sustainable ways of reducing the flooding include building coastal flood shelters on stilts and early warning systems.

Map of Bangladesh showing the main rivers

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