Human Control Of Rivers
For centuries, rivers have been very important to human society. Aside from soil, no other feature on Earth is as closely bound to the advancement of human civilization. Trying to control river flow has been a key part of civil engineering. This is especially true because of the need to avoid natural flooding and the desire to take advantage of the benefits that flood plains offer agriculture. Furthermore, managing rivers can also satisfy human needs to store water for times of drought. Thus, civil engineers have a number of goals. They try to conserve water flow for release at times when human need is greatest. They try to keep water quality above acceptable levels. And they try to confine flood flows to designated channels or to planned flood storage areas.
While the techniques of river management are fairly well understood, true river management is not commonly put into practice because of the expense and the size of the projects involved. In fact, none of the major rivers in the world is controlled or even managed in a way that modern engineering and biological techniques would allow. So far, only medium-sized streams have been successfully managed. For example, the San Joaquin in California has been completely developed to take advantage of the irrigation opportunities that the stream offers.
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Kathryn D. Snavely
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Revaluation of values: to Sarin Gas - History And Global Production Of SarinRivers - Formation Of Rivers, River Systems, Climactic Influences, Hydrological Cycle, River Floods, Human Control Of Rivers