Soft-engineering on the Yangtze

Washlands

The most important area is called the ‘Jingjiang basin’ which is an area of 2,000km2 where 5.4 billion m3 of water can be stored.

Positives
Easy to construct as they only require sluice gates.
The land can be used for other things such as farming and as residential property. Water is only allowed into the washlands when a major flood is imminent.
Floods are easily managed and controlled – there is less need to build further hard engineering methods along the course of the river.

Negatives
Some areas have become silted up due to their use as farmland. Unless the washlands are maintained properly they might become unsuitable for use.
Some people live within the washlands and would need to be evacuated in the event of a major flood.

Land use zoning and flood warning systems

Land use zoning has been used to help plan areas where people can live. Modern flood warning systems are used to help evacuate people during floods.

Positives
180 flood control monitoring stations warn people about potential flooding. The system uses satellite and mobile phone technology to warn people to get to higher land.
The system cost £9 million and will hopefully help to save lives during flood events.
There is relatively little building or modification of the river required.

Negatives
Only prevents people from being killed in floods. It does not protect property or the environment.
Many people who live close to the river are poor farmers and might not have access to modern technology.