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The River Rhine Case Study

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The River Rhine Case Study

The River Rhine rises in the Swiss Alps about 3,353 metres above sea
level and flows north, passing through or bordering Switzerland,
Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands and then
its mouth is located at the North Sea. The Rhine is usually at its
maximum volume during the seasons of spring and summer; this is due to
the fact that there is the melted water of snow and glaciers. In this
enquiry I am looking at the aspect of river flooding in the Rhine,
particularly in 1995. A river flood is when a river spills its banks
onto areas of land surrounding it that are not usually covered by


The main causes for river flooding are:

S Heavy rainfall - causes soil to become saturated and not allow

S Rapidly melting snow

S Dam bursts

S Soil saturation - this may cause a river to flood as the water would
not be able to infiltrate the soil and so will encourage overland

S Deforestation - this may cause flooding as there are no trees to
intercept the rain and so the soil will become saturated.

S Ploughing - this may cause flooding as it creates gullies which
water can flow down towards the river

S Urbanisation (extending built up areas) - this may cause a river to
flood as the concrete and tarmac that is laid over the soil send more
water to the river than to the fields which they replaced.

As you can gather from the above information the causes can be
categorised into human and natural effects. The flooding of the River
Rhine in past and recent dates has mainly been caused by human
infliction, with only few natural causes....

... middle of paper ...

...ter the 1995 floods a further £1 billion was being planned to be
spent on flood protection.

S Remove silt from the forelands, the silt could be used to build
bricks or dykes, which would otherwise slowly lose their capacity to
hold floodwater as one flood after another deposits silt.

S Encourage land uses in the Rhine basin which increase absorption of
rainwater such as contour ploughing and increasing the area of gardens
and parks in urban areas.

S Flood retention basins could be built, these are areas of land
surrounded by dykes in which flood water is directed into to reduce
the river's water level. When the flood is gone the water from the
basin is slowly transferred back into the channel.

S Allow the river to flow back through marshland areas which had been
previously sealed off for navigation purposes

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