Case Study Examples: Water, Landforms and People
(i) Name and locate an area of an MEDC where flooding has taken place:
Shrewsbury in Shropshire, UK, October 2000
(ii) Describe how the flood affected different groups of people:
The flooding affected many groups of people including homeowners, businesses,
children and transport. Homeowners were affected by flooding as homes in the
Frankwell and Abbey Foregate areas of Shrewsbury were flooded. This caused
damage to carpets, plaster and electrics in homes and took many months to repair.
Some people had to move out of their homes into temporary accommodation. Over
400 homes were damaged and sandbags were given out to try to protect some homes
from the flooding.
Although many shops are located on higher land above the level of flooding in
Shrewsbury, they were still affected by the 2000 floods. The flooding stopped some
shoppers from visiting the town and therefore shops such as Boots and Marks and
Spencer’s lost up to £925,000 in business due to the flooding. Transport was also cut
off as the English and Welsh Bridges, the only transport routes into the town centre
were flooded. This enhanced the losses to businesses in the town centre as deliveries
could not be made to the shops.
Social impacts were also caused by the floods. Children could not use playgrounds
as parks such as the Quarry as these areas were flooded.
(iii) Explain the causes of the floods.
A depression moved across the British Isles in October 2000. This brought over four
times the average amount of rainfall in just 24 hours. Therefore the river overflowed
as a result of the excess water entering the river. Land use also contributed to the
causes of the floods because towns such as Shrewsbury have impermeable concrete
and tarmac surfaces. These caused the flooding because the rainwater cannot
infiltrate into the ground and surface water is increased. Therefore the water
reaches the river more quickly. Deforestation in the upper course of the River
Severn contributed to the causes of the floods because the cutting down of the trees
increased surface run off and decreased infiltration. Therefore the water reached
the river more quickly and increasing the risk of floods.
A River Landform:
(i) Name a place where you have studied a river landform. Name the type of landform ad
state whether it was created by erosion or deposition.
Niagara Falls Waterfall on the Niagara River on the border of the USA and Canada,
created by erosion.
(ii) Describe how the river landform was created.
The waterfall at Niagara Falls was created when an layer of softer rock has been
eroded away underneath an area of harder rock. The softer rock has been worn
away through the processes of abrasion, when rocks have been wearing away the
bed and banks of the river and hydraulic action, when air has been forced into
cracks in the rock, forcing the rock to break away. The harder rock has been
undercut by the softer rock leaving an overhang, which has eventually collapsed into
the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls. The rocks in the plunge pool have
continued to wear away the banks and bed of the falls through abrasion. Niagara
Falls has continued to wear away backwards in this way creating Niagara Gorge.
Goat Island, an area of more resistant rock, has been left in the middle of the river,
while American Falls and Horseshoe Falls continue to wear away on either side of
(iii) Explain how the river
landform has been or is
being used by people and/or
Niagara Falls is being
used in a variety of ways
by a number of different
groups of people. The
waterfall has become a major tourist attraction due to the size and spectacular
sights of the waterfall. There are also boat trips and helicopter rides along the river.
This has provided jobs for local people in hotels, restaurants and the tourist
attractions alongside the falls. Therefore, the local council gains taxes from the falls
which are used to provide better services and facilities for the area including
hospitals and schools. There are a number of Hydro-electric power stations
underneath the falls which produce vast amounts of energy for local towns and
However, the people using Niagara Falls have also had a negative impact on the
local area and on the river landform. Local people’s lives have been spoilt by
congested roads, illegal parking, graffiti, vandalism and crime as a result of the
increased tourism caused by Niagara Falls. Local people cannot afford the houses in
the area and are forced to leave the area because of the increased development by
hotels and other tourist industries, which has increased house prices. The wildlife of
the area has been scared away except for those feeding off the tourists e.g. pigeons,
which are a pest.