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Water Management Associations
How the Use of Natural Flood Defenses can Protect our Coast and Rivers
During the winter we have just been through, the UK saw some of the worst flooding it has had for many years. With homes and farmland under feet of water, the questions that have inevitably followed focus on how flooding on such a scale can be prevented in the future. This article discusses the different man-made and natural solutions that may help to solve this difficult issue.

In recent years, we have come to rely heavily on man-made hard flood defenses and adaptations of the landscape. Purpose-built structures have done a lot to help protect big urban areas from flooding and there has been heavy investment in hard sea defenses to stop coastal towns from flooding. However, man-made flood defenses are costly it install and maintain and only partially solve the problem.

Alongside man-made solutions natural flood defense schemes can help to prevent flooding also. A ground breaking project at Wallasea Islands’ Wild Coast is recreating wetlands, mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture to combat coastal flooding. Certain types of vegetation and landscape are very good at retaining water. Plants and animals that live these sorts of very wet environments are adapted and thrive in these conditions.

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