Research Paper on Building For a Sustainable Future

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1841 Words
Date:  2022-04-04


At the heart of every process, today is sustainability. Whether it is a process of producing goods or services, considerations for a sustainable future must be included. This has been occasioned by the current problems facing humanity such as scarcity of resources, global warming, and climate change. These problems increase in adversity calling for human mitigation which has to be incorporated in every process and making it sustainable soon. Failure to focus on sustainable development will lead to enormous problems that affect the quality of a human being. One of such problems is flooding. Flooding is a catastrophic event that may wipe out humanity if not managed. This article explores flooding in detail; what it is, why it occurs, the future of the problem and solutions. Flooding is a human-induced phenomenon that can be mitigated through sustainable building practices.

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What is Flooding?

Most people, especially those who have never experienced, have the idea that flooding is just too much water in their compound or around their houses. With such a perception, it may be thought that floods are just fun and occur for a few minutes after a heavy downpour. However, the reality is that flooding is a dangerous phenomenon which can potentially wipe out a huge city. Floods are natural occurrences in which a normally dry area is submerged in water. It occurs when a waterway such as a river, stream, lake or ocean overflows large quantities of water onto dry land. Floods may also occur as a result of excessive rain (Douglas, 2017, p. 36).


Whenever flooding is experienced in an area, there are adverse effects on the people and property. Lives are lost as people drown and die. Property is damaged as water wipes out houses, bridges, cars and other physical properties. Also, farms are swabbed out leading to loss of fertile land plus the crops that had been grown. Trees on a flooded land are uprooted and even destroyed by heavy flooding. Wild animals are also destroyed by floods. Flooding is simply dangerous every life and property on earth.

Why Do Floods Occur?

Floods occur due to a multitude of reasons. Most often, flooding occurs as a result of heavy rain. In fact, in most parts of the world, rain is the main contributor to flooding. Excessive rain causes water to flow overland leading to flooding. Likewise, torrential rains cause streams and rivers to overflow resulting in flooding. When heavy rains are received in an area, the rivers and streams are made to hold more water upstream exceeding their capacities causing it to flow to neighboring low-lying areas or floodplains where it accumulates causing flooding. Such flooding occurred in Houston in May 2015 when a heavy storm befell the land leading to accumulation of water to about 14 inches high (How does a flood happen, n.d)


Similarly, floods could result from overflows in lakes and coastal areas. It occurs when tsunamis or large storms make the water held up in an ocean or lake to surge inland. Such flooding is destructive to nearby cities, infrastructure and lives as the entire dry coastal line are covered by water. Such a scenario was witnessed in New Orleans in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina caused Lake Pontchartrain to break its levees and flooding the city.


Moreover, floods occur when dams break or drainages clog. Often, human beings decide to construct dams on rivers to hold water for electricity generation and water harvesting for irrigation. Because of overwhelming carriage capacity, the walls of such dams become weak and eventually break. Consequently, huge quantities of water are suddenly released into the low-lying areas causing heavy flooding. A similar scenario could arise when drainage systems clog forcing water to flow overland. Improper drainage systems are to blame in such instances.

Finally, floods could occur when glaciers and mountaintops melt. In cold regions of Greenland and Nepal, snows and ice buildup especially during winters. However, during summers temperatures rise. Temperature rise has even been worsened by global warming leading to excessive ice melting over the last few decades (Kohler, 2015, p. 67). The melting ice results in vast movement of water down to low-lying lakes and floodplains causing floods. Where dams have been constructed to collect water from such mountain tops, the excessive overflow breaks the walls releasing even more water to the low-lying areas.

Critical Analysis of Causes of Flooding

As shown in the previous section, flooding occurs as a result of heavy rain, overflows of lakes and oceans, breakage of dams and clogging of drainage systems and melting of glaciers. Although these causes of flooding may be natural, their intensity and prevalence are due to human causes.

Heavy rains have been witnessed since time immemorial, but they did not cause flooding as they do nowadays. What went wrong along the way? These days buildings and projects are all over. The designers, architectures, and designers do not make necessary considerations regarding drainage before setting up these structures. Most buildings often do not include sustainable drainage systems such as green roofs, ponds, and permeable paving. Such buildings collect a lot of water from their roofs, but the water is not properly channeled out of the urban setting or harvested. Consequently, the water may easily accumulate around the buildings leading to city flooding.

In other instances, the buildings are well designed, but the drainage system is poorly done such that it becomes prone to clogging. Plastic bags and products are widely used in the current society. The constructors ought to have such a reality in mind when constructing the drainage systems. For example, checkpoints could be provided in the drainage system to allow for maintenance and removal of materials that could clog the entire drainage system. However, most designers do not foresee such scenarios and the end up constructing drainage lines that go unnoticed when they are about to clog and fail to channel water out of the city. Eventually, a flood occurs to a surprise of many.

Moreover, constructors involved in the establishment of dams are to blame for flooding. Constructors often rush to complete building a dam without consideration of the strength of its walls. Improper planning for building string walls for a dam may trace its roots to underestimation of carriage capacity as well as the possibility of future occurrences such as melting of ice at higher rates than currently. The constructors ought to plan well and look into the future as they construct dams. Standardized building materials should be used to enhance strength and minimize chances of collapsing to prevent possible flooding.

If people in the construction industry may prioritize planning of construction, they are likely to foresee certain unexpected occurrences in future and build structures that make adjustments for such scenarios. Consequently, they will act as first liners in preventing flooding.

Solutions to Flooding

As hinted above, flooding is mostly an outcome of human activities. Consequently, mitigating it relies on human efforts that in part address the causes. There are several solutions to flooding. One area to focus on mitigating flooding is town planning. It is important that the architectures, designers, and constructors engage in proper planning before embarking on building houses and projects. Proper planning in disaster management enables the designers and constructors to foresee future possible catastrophic events that may affect the structures or even destroy them (Coetzee, Van Niekerk and Raju, 2016, p. 197). Through planning, for example, the constructors will foresee the impact of plastic products and blockage of drainage systems. Consequently, they will incorporate necessary measures to prevent such a scenario. One way of doing so is covering the drainages to prevent materials that would chock them. Also, the drainage systems should be large enough to allow huge volumes of water to be drained quickly. This way, the drainage system will remain working, and when a heavy downpour is experienced, water will run through it reducing the chances of city flooding.

Also, flooding, especially in cities, can be controlled through water storage innovative water alternatives. These involve solutions for the collection of water during excessive rains and directing to emergency storages that will delay discharge into the rivers and streams. Constructing additional water plazas and storage facilities, as well as the adoption of green roofs, play a big role in mitigation of flooding. For example, in the Netherlands, there is a huge underground water storage facility at the Rotterdam Museupark car park with a carrying capacity of ten million liters (Don't spill a drop of water, collect rainwater, n.d). This is a considerable amount of water which when their discharge is delayed, the possibility of flooding during a heavy downpour is drastically reduced. Most cities need such kind of water storages to control street floods. Architectures, designers, and constructors should consider building water plazas, especially when constructing huge buildings that are likely to collect a lot of water during heavy rain. This will ensure that discharge of such water is delayed so that it does not overwhelm the drainage systems as well as the banks of streams and rivers to cause flooding in the low-lying areas.

Another solution to flooding is building of dams to collect stream or river water that would overflow to low-lying areas and cause flooding. This should begin with the identification of streams and rivers that mostly break their banks during heavy rains causing flooding. The architectures, engineers, designers, and constructors should then come together to plan where such dams should be suitably situated, the desired strength, the required capacity and the most suitable building materials to use. Putting these considerations in a plan will enable the constructors to foresee possible future events and make necessary adjustments to accommodate them. For example, they may foresee glaciers melting and increase the carrying capacity and strength of the walls to ensure that the dam does not collapse in such an occurrence. The dams will collect and store excess water during heavy downpours reducing or controlling the overflow to low-lying areas thus mitigating flooding.

To address flooding, efforts should also resolve global warming. Particularly, efforts that aim to reduce global average temperature should be considered to mitigate flooding resulting from melting of glaciers. For constructors, it means adopting sustainability issues into building and constructions. For example, constructors should consider alternative building materials so that they do not rely on the exploitation of natural resources such as forests. This will allow the world to recover from deforestation which has been attributed to global warming.

Flooding and the Future

Flooding is directly related to human activities. The construction industry is more linked to flooding than any other industry. This is because within the construction industry, many activities linked to causes of global warming take place. For example, building materials are extracted and processed using energy and end up emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases (up to 47% of carbon dioxide emitted in the United Kingdom) into the atmosphere (Dadhich et al., 2015, p. 271). It implies that if construction industry cont...

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