CASE STUDIES

Water on the Land – 2010: The Year of the Flood and Haweswater Reservoir

Water on the Land – 2010: The Year of the Flood and Haweswater Reservoir

The Year of The Flood

In 2010 serious flooding affected countries including Australia, China, the UK, Pakistan and Colombia, but some floods had greater impact than others. For example the

Queensland floods in Australia that were caused byTropical Cyclone Tasha affected 200,000 people in over 70 towns. Despite widespread destruction, the death toll was 35.

Also in 2010, the Pakistan floods affected most of the country. The floods were caused by heavy monsoon rains and at one point one fifth of the country was underwater. About 5,000 schools were destroyed and up to 2,000 people died. Whereas in Australia many people lived in houses which could withstand short-term flooding, and had the means to escape, in Pakistan many had nowhere to go.

Another factor which influenced the final death toll was that in Australia there was a large, well-prepared and organised rescue service, whereas in Pakistan the authorities were unable to cope.

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Case study: Haweswater Reservoir

As Britain’s cities grew during the industrial revolution, more and more water was needed for people, industry and for crops. By the 1920s the north west of England found it needed more water, and it was proposed that a new reservoir should be built at Mardale in the Lake District.

The proposal generated great controversy because the reservoir would be built by constructing a huge dam, which would flood the villages of Measand and Mardale Green, as well as the land around them. However after an Act of Parliament the project was approved. When it was finished in 1935 the new dam flooded the valley to a depth of 29 metres (95 feet), and a reservoir was created that was 6 kilometres in length (nearly 4 miles) and 600 metres (half a mile) wide. To this day when the water levels drop you can see the remains of Mardale and an old bridge that used to lead to what is now an underwater town.

Despite the protests, many people today would consider the Haweswater Reservoir as a picturesque attraction in its own right, and the nearby cities have benefitted from its supplies for generations.