No silver bullet for avoiding floods, says water expert

Mar 06, 2012

Clearing waterways of vegetation will have a negative effect on the environment without solving flooding problems, warns Professor Andrew Western, University of Melbourne water expert.

Professor Western said that there is no silver bullet for avoiding floods.

“Clearing of vegetation from would create drain-like rivers and increase problems down-stream,” he said.

“In general, reducing flooding at one place comes at the cost of increasing it at others.  This is true of clearing stream vegetation as well as protection measures such as levee banks.”

In a comprehensive report submitted to the Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria at the end of 2011, Professor Western examined the effects of vegetation and debris removal and a reversal of that policy to reinstate vegetation along water ways.

He found there are ecological benefits to retaining vegetation in and around rivers.

“The issue of the impact of vegetation management on flooding is much more complex than our intuition might suggest when standing on the bank of a river,” he said.

Explore further: Oil from Russian trawler wreck reaches Canaries' beaches

Related Stories

Streams need trees to withstand climate change

Feb 10, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- More than twenty years of biological monitoring have confirmed the importance of vegetation for protecting Australia's freshwater streams and rivers against the ravages of drought and climate ...

Willow removal equals water savings

Dec 01, 2010

Removing willows growing in the stream bed of creeks and rivers could return valuable water resources to river systems, new CSIRO research has found.

Wider buffers are better

Jul 30, 2007

Excess nitrogen caused by fertilizers, animal waste, leaf litter, sewer lines, and highways is responsible for contaminating groundwater. It can also cause human health risks when found in drinking water and oxygen depleted ...

Living, Meandering River Constructed

Sep 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a feat of reverse-engineering, Christian Braudrick of University of California at Berkeley and three coauthors have successfully built and maintained a scale model of a living meandering ...

Tibet wetlands being protected

Feb 13, 2006

Tibet's wetlands are being protected from drying up, and leading the country in vegetation acreage, Chinese officials said.

Impact of eucalyptus plantations on the ecology of rivers

Jan 14, 2010

For more than twenty years this team has been trying to identify links between the ecology and functioning of rivers and the surrounding terrestrial environment because, when all is said and done, rivers are like the excretory ...

Recommended for you

Climate change: How Brits feel about 'smart' energy

4 hours ago

Reluctance to share data about personal energy use is likely to be a major obstacle when implementing 'smart' technologies designed to monitor use and support energy efficient behaviours, according to new ...

A novel pathway producing dimethylsulphide in bacteria

8 hours ago

A scientific team that includes researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) has identified a novel pathway producing dimethylsulphide, a volatile organosulfur compound which plays a major role in climate regulation.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.