Should drainage basins be managed or natural? Discuss with use of examples from both LEDCs and MEDCs.

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Should Drainage Basins be managed or natural? Discuss with use of examples from both LEDCs and MEDCs.

Drainage basins are areas in which water drains from higher land to lower land and eventually meets the sea or a lake. Water that flows on top of land along a certain path is said to be in a channel. The argument in this essay is whether drainage basins and river channels should be managed or left to flow naturally. If people try to control or alter the natural flow of water in a drainage basin in some way it is said to be managed. If a drainage basin is left alone and has not been changed or altered in any way it is said to be natural. People change drainage basins and river channels for many reasons; one of the earliest examples of drainage basin management was the irrigation of crops around the Nile in ancient Egypt. People change the landscape around them to make it easier for them to live in a particular area, this was thought of as a good thing by many when the UK was newly developing. However, before this and indeed to some extent now, it has been suggested that managing and altering the landscape to suit our needs may not be such a good thing.

During the course of this essay, I will be looking at 3 case studies; water resource management in Bangladesh, Colorado and along the Mississippi.

The management of rivers and drainage basins is only needed when people live near them. River floods are not a problem if people do not live on the flood plain; the natural movement of watercourses is also only a problem when people chose to live by them.

The Colorado River is one of the most used and managed rivers in the world. It has been used as a source of water for over 2000 years by Native Americans but in the last 100 years has been extensively managed. As the population around the river grew so, management was needed.

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The Colorado river is now managed to provide flood control, Hydro-electricity, irrigation, urban water supply and recreation. Without all of this management, there would be fewer settlements around the river, as there would be no means of transporting water to them. All of the cities that use the Colorado’s 120million kW of Hydroelectricity would be powerless and without the irrigation of 800,000 hectares of farmland, the area around would be barren and agriculturally poor.

Another reason the Colorado had to be managed is the fact that it runs through so many different states (7 in all as well ...

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