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Assess the different ways in which we can use river environments and identify the different conflicts that occur

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Introduction

Elizabeth Wood Assess the different ways in which we can use river environments and identify the different conflicts that occur. Humans use all river environments other than those, which are remote and in inaccessible areas. We alter the landscape both directly and indirectly, altering the processes that shape the environment. The different ways in which we, as humans, change the environments is often at odds with another and conflicts with the physical processes at work will result. As human populations within river environments enlarge, so do the conflicts. The River Tees, in North East England, has an environment much used by humans. The source of the river in the Pennies is 893 metres above sea level, with a high rainfall of over 2000mm a year. It is in an area of impermeable rock so surface runoff is greater; precipitation reaches the river channel quickly. The river Tees is clear and turbulent, with a waterfall, gorge and rapids. In the upper course of the river communication and the building of settlements is difficult on the steep valley sides. There also are harsh weather conditions in the Pennies. There is tourism such as walking or hiking to visit the High Force waterfall and the scenic landscape. Also recreational activities take place as such as water sports take place consisting of white water rafting, sailing canoeing and also fishing. However, this creates only a small amount of employment. Other types of employment consist many of farming such as hill sheep farming on the valley sides, as the soils are too poor for arable farming from the harsh weather conditions creating great soil erosion. ...read more.

Middle

In order to reduce sedimentation rates, it is likely that the sediment rich water, which arrives mainly during the four-month flood season, will be released from the dam and only stored water flowing in the reservoir between floods will be stored. The irony is that this will reduce its effectiveness as a flood control measure. As urban areas increase in size and number, the capacity to affect hydrological processes increases too. In comparison with rural areas, inputs of water into the urban hydrological system tend to be greater. This is due both to urban areas tending to receive slightly more rainfall due to localised climates conditions, and to transfers of water piped into urban areas from elsewhere within the drainage basin, or even outside it. The surface characteristics of an urban area will also alter the hydrological processes because they tend to be smooth and impermeable, with less surface storage capacity. Storm drains also carry runoff water from roads and pavements, so the speed of flow of precipitation travelling to the river channels is greater causing much water to arrive at the same time, increasing the risk of flooding. This results in the hydrograph of a river affected by urbanisation to have a short lag time, showing the lack of delay in the precipitation event reaching the channel. Increase in discharge as a result of urbanisation can cause unintentional changes in river channels. An example of this is Monks Brook in southern Hampshire. Before urbanisation started in the 1930's, the area was used mainly for agriculture. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a result of hikers, horse riding and cycling around the landscape causes path erosion, and soil erosion. This could lead to increased amounts of sediment reaching the river channel. As would any increase in people in the environment, noise pollution would increase; this may scare away rare wildlife species from their habitat. Also, an increase in the number of people visiting an area is bound to get companies setting up business, causing better or more roads being built to an area, destroying the landscape but also creating air pollution as well as noise pollution. The building of new roads or buildings in an area is bound to upset the villagers already living there but also may cause the arousal from environmentalists or conservationists would believe that the landscape is precious and should not be interfered with. Deforestation also creates national upset from conservationists. Rivers can cause global conflicts and wars if they run through more than one country such as the Amazon River. If the country which the river travels through first disrupt it by building a dam and trapping the sediment, it will cause problems for the country the river runs through next. This could result in wars if the first country take huge amounts of water from the river for irrigation of keep the flood gates shut on their dam. If the second country was in a time of drought then they might get angry if there was not enough water left by the time the river reached them, or if their crops would no longer grow as well due to a lack in sediment. ...read more.

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