What are Levees?

Living close to water is a great thing—aside from when there is a flood. So, individuals fabricate levees. A levee is a characteristic or fake divider that squares water from going where we do not need it to go. Levees might be utilized to increment accessible land for residence or redirect a waterway, so the ripe soil of a stream or ocean bed might be utilized for agribusiness. They keep waterways from flooding urban communities in a tempest flood. Be that as it may, if a levee breaks, the results can be appalling. 

Levees are generally made of earth. The standard development of a waterway pushes residue to the side, making a natural levee. The banks of a waterway are regularly somewhat raised from the stream bed. The bank’s structure levees made of residue, sediment, and different materials pushed aside by the streaming water. Levees usually are corresponding to how the waterway streams, so levees can help direct the progression of the stream. 

Levees can likewise be falsely made or fortified. Artificial levees are generally worked by heaping soil, sand, or shakes on a cleared, level surface. In places where the progression of a waterway is solid, levees may likewise be made of squares of wood, plastic, or metal. Where the territory adjacent to a waterway or other waterway is specifically peril, levees may even be fortified by concrete. 

Individuals have been assembling and fortifying levees since the start of human progress. As right on time as 2500 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization, with urban focuses in what is today Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, Pakistan, utilized levees to ensure land close to the Indus River. Ranchers had the option to develop crops like cotton and rice. 

Notwithstanding making living space and cropland, levees can likewise give a proportion of security from intruders. Levees can make a waterway like a canal, keeping individuals from effectively attacking the domain on the opposite side. Pulverizing levees can likewise quit attacking powers. In 1938, Chinese pioneers deliberately broke levees on the Yellow River to keep the Japanese military from progressing. Over 500,000 individuals, Japanese and Chinese, kicked the bucket in the subsequent flood. 

Artificial levees should be secured. They need to confront erosion, or eroding, by the close by water. Some of the time, trees and plants like Bermuda grass are planted close to levees to stay the dirt. Architects need to keep up levees with auxiliary work to strengthen the limits. 

In crises, brief levees can be made of sandbags. These absorb the water and typically keep overabundance water from leaking past the sand. 

Artificial levees forestall flooding. Moreover, they additionally present another issue: levees press the progression of the waterway. All the waterway’s capacity is coursing through a little space. Water levels are higher, and water streams quicker. This squeezes levees downstream and makes the water progressively hard to control. On the off chance that levees break, it likewise makes containing the flood progressively troublesome. 

Since the eighteenth century, levees have shielded Louisiana and another close by states from flooding by the Mississippi River. At the point when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, the levees could not withstand the tempest flood. The levees broke, and water overflowed 80 percent of the city. 

Levees on the Sea 

Albeit most levees exist to control streams, they can likewise exist on the coast. The nation of the Netherlands has a detailed arrangement of embankments, levees, and dams to keep down the North Sea. Land for homesteads, industry, and private use has been made from land that was at one time, the sea depths. 

The Bay of Fundy, which outskirts the areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, has one of the most noteworthy tidal ranges in the world. The tidal range arrives at more than 17 meters (55 feet) in certain spots. To utilize land that would make some way or another be underwater during high tide, Canada has built levees along with parts of the Bay of Fundy. 

Focal points and Disadvantages of Levees and Floodwalls 

Focal points 

  • Levees and floodwalls can ensure a structure and the encompassing territory from immersion without considerable changes to the structure of the plan flood level is not surpassed. 
  • There is no weight from floodwater to do essential harm to the structure. 
  • These hindrances usually are more affordable than lifting or moving the structure. 
  • Tenants do not need to leave the structure during development. 


  • This method cannot be accustomed to bring a generously harmed or improved structure into consistency with floodplain advancement principles. 
  • May disregard floodplain improvement models, especially in floodway areas, by causing hindered stream or in expanded flood statures. 
  • Disappointment or overtopping of a levee or floodwall results in as much harm as though there was no assurance (or more). 
  • May limit access to the structure. If human mediation is required for terminations, there must be adequate admonition time. 
  • It may be costly. 
  • For structures with cellars, hydrostatic weight from groundwater may even now cause harm. 
  • Neighbourhood waste can be influenced, perhaps making water issues for other people. 
  • Inside, waste must be given. 
  • Levees require impressive land territory. 
  • Require periodic upkeep. 
  • No decrease in flood protection premiums. 
  • Try not to wipe out the need to empty during floods. 


Levees can either be conventional or human-made. Human-made levees are embarkments that are worked to keep water in. They are worked by waterways to shield them from flooding their banks. They are produced using less impermeable soils, for example, earth and are limited at the top yet more extensive at the base. They can go in stature because there is no set tallness on how tall they can be. 

There are numerous favourable circumstances to levees. They permit individuals to live by streams or seas without the dread of flooding, except if the levee breaks. They additionally give assurance. In the Netherlands, the preferred position to utilizing a levee is that it has halted the sea waters from streaming onto the land. This has permitted the land to be involved by individuals. Levees additionally keep lakes under control and waterways from flooding their banks. 

Levees accompany numerous hindrances. While giving assurance from flooding in one spot, levees can redirect the water somewhere else, causing flooding in another place. Crops can suffocate and be murdered in flood messing up ranchers. Levees can likewise come up short. They can bomb by overtopping, sub-current, drooping, or erosion. Overtopping is the point at which the water transcends the levee. Undercurrent is when water pervades the sand stores underneath the levee and water ascends on the opposite side. At the point when the heaviness of the water is unreasonably substantial for the levee, it can push over the sides. This is called the drooping. Erosion is the point at which the sides and top of the levee gradually begin to wear out because of the rushes of the water. 

Intriguing Facts about Floods 

A Flood of Damages 

  • Number of individuals the UN assessments will live in the way of a potential harming flood by 2050: $2 billion 
  • Increment over the present figures: 100% 
  • A yearly number of “significant floods” worldwide: 
  • 1950s to 1970s: 7-9 
  • 1980s: 20 
  • 1990s: 34 
  • Number of harming floods in Europe from 1989-2002: 100 
  • Surmised number of individuals uprooted: 500,000 
  • Cost of harms: $30 billion 
  • The sum spent by the US government on flood-control plans (chiefly dams and levees), 1960-85: $38 billion 
  • The normal swelling balanced expense of flood harm each year from 1964 to 1993: $4.6 billion 
  • Increment in cost of flood harms during that time over past 30-year term: Approximately 66% 
  • Increment long of dikes in the Indian province of Bihar from 1952-98: 22 occasions 
  • Percent expansion in the flood-inclined zone in Bihar at that time: approx. 300 
  • Percent expansion in flood harms in Bihar between the 1950s and 1970s: practically 400 
  • Number of individuals in Bihar living inside banks: $2 million 

Controlled Rivers 

  • Length of levees that different US streams from their floodplains: >40,000 km 
  • Percent of floodplain lost in the Danube bowl: 92 
  • Percent lost in the Elbe, Rhine and Tiza bowls: >80 
  • Zone of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands that have vanished since 1930s: >4,900 sq. Km. 
  • Tallness, in places, of the bed of China’s Yellow River over the encompassing flood plain: 20 meters 
  • Levees and Dams: Technical Difficulties 
  • Number of levee disappointments during “Incredible Flood” of 1993 in the Mississippi Basin: 1,575 
  • As a percent of all levees in the flood zone: 68 
  • Region immersed by supplies worldwide: >260,000 sq. Km. 
  • Percent of China’s 85,000 dams needing critical fixes: >33 
  • Yearly property-harm cost of dam disappointments in the US in the mid-2000s: $100 million 
  • Number of US dams currently delegated “hazardous”: >3,500 
  • Absolute venture expected to bring them into security consistence: >$30 billion 

A Better Way 

  • Percent of India’s storm run-off that could be caught and put away as groundwater: 25 
  • Percent of that put away water that could be recovered later for water system: 75 
  • Cost of moving 5,100 homes and organizations in Illinois and Missouri after the Great Flood: $66 million 
  • Protection installments used to fix and modify those structures in past floods: $191 million


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Cite/Link to This Article

  • "Levees". Geography Revision. Accessed on January 26, 2021. https://geography-revision.co.uk/a-level/physical/levees/.

  • "Levees". Geography Revision, https://geography-revision.co.uk/a-level/physical/levees/. Accessed 26 January, 2021.

  • Levees. Geography Revision. Retrieved from https://geography-revision.co.uk/a-level/physical/levees/.