8 Apr 2022


Natural disaster management: flood protection measures

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Academic level: College

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Natural Disaster Management

Question # 1:

Flooding mostly occurs after heavy rainfall when the natural water courses do not have enough capacity to convey the excess water. Hence, the physical roots of floods are in the rivers, lakes, coastal regions, dams. Excessive rainfall is known to cause flooding in the rivers, while hazards such as tsunamis, tropical cyclones and high tides cause flooding in the coastal regions. Mechanical failures in dams also cause floods. 

Climatic factors also play an important role in the occurrence of floods. According to Milly et al. (2002), the radiative effects due anthropogenic changes in atmosphere cause changes in the global water cycle, increasing flood risk. Global warming is responsible for the rising sea temperature, which contribute to the increasing coastal hazards such as tsunamis. Generally, increasing cases of floods witnessed in today’s society is a consequence of the constant climatic changes. 

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Question # 2

Urbanization and deforestation increase the severity of flooding in a number of ways (Doocy et al., 2013). Both urbanization and deforestation are responsible for the loss of vegetation and soil. Towns are characterized by impermeable surfaces such as roofs, roads and sidewalks. Hence, urban areas that have ineffective drainage and sewage systems are more likely to experience flooding in case of heavy rainfall. Additionally, unrestricted urbanization is responsible for construction of high rise properties in vulnerable places, making urban areas more susceptible to the effects of flooding (Doocy et al., 2013). Alternatively, deforestation refers to the removal of trees, which reduces the amount of water being absorbed and increases run-off. Deforestation increases erosion creating a bare land which becomes a hot spot for severe flooding as tree leaves and roots are known to lessen the intensity of rain drops. 

Question # 3

There are various flood protection measures: flood walls, sea walls and flood-control dams. Flood walls are commonly used control water levels of rivers in case of floods. The height of the flood wall is determined by the predicted water level given the previous history of flooding in that particular location. Alternatively sea walls are like flood walls, but are used to control the level of sea water to prevent sea water from encroaching on the nearby land. Flood-control dams are used to temporarily store to reduce the flood levels (Doocy et al., 2013). 

It is possible to build flood proof facilities to heighten structural protection. Areas that are prone to flooding are known to have strict building codes such that buildings are usually elevated and the foundations are usually designed in a way to withstand flooding using flood-damage-resistant material. 

Question # 4

Drought is a form of a hydrological hazard as it is driven by hydrological processes. Droughts involve low flow of water characterized by the lack of ground and soil water. There are different types of droughts: meteorological, agricultural and hydrological (Zhang et al., 2015). Meteorological drought is differentiated from the other types by the onset of dryness and the length of the dry period. Meteorological drought is characterized by the lack of precipitation, it is an indicator of a water crisis and often ends immediately. 

Agricultural drought is more intense as the atmospheric pressure is drastically reduced such that soil moisture is compromised. Consequently affecting crops and animals. Lastly, hydrological drought refers to the lack of surface and ground water in a region due to less precipitation and over reliance on surface water. Hydrological drought does not occur at the same time as meteorological drought, rather it presents itself as an effect of meteorological drought. The attendant causes of droughts are the changes in circulation patterns in soil moisture content, as well as the changes in the land and sea temperature. 

Question # 5

Droughts are the polar-opposites of floods, and they are quite hard to detect hence communities experiencing drought for the first time are more likely to be affected severely. Nonetheless, through effective prediction and monitoring, communities can protect themselves from the effects of drought by adopting water conservation measures and proper farming techniques. 

Water conservation efforts such as minimizing water usage, intense watershed and local planning, augmentation of water supply, among other measures are used by communities to preserve water during drought. Better farming techniques such as farming drought resistant crops and herd management are also adopted. 

Communities in drought prone areas are known to survive drought through careful usage and water preservation. They have large water reservoirs which hold plenty of water to sustain them during drought periods.


Doocy, S., Daniels, A., Murray, S., & Kirsch, T. D. The human impact of floods: a historical review 5 of events 1980–2009 and systematic literature review.  PLoS Curr 16 , 12.

Milly, P. C. D., Wetherald, R. T., Dunne, K. A., & Delworth, T. L. (2002). Increasing risk of great floods in a changing climate.  Nature 415 (6871), 514-517.

Zhang, Q., Han, L., Jia, J., Song, L., & Wang, J. (2015). Management of drought risk under global warming.  Theoretical and Applied Climatology , 1-10.

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