How are Levees Beneficial to Human Settlements?

What is the Purpose of a Levee? What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Levees? How many Types of Levees are there? Are Dams and Levees alike?

Settling near water bodies is a dream for many, particularly when there isn’t a flood and the weather is calm and peaceful. This is the reason behind levee construction. The levee is an exposed, artificial wall that prevents water from flowing in an undesirable direction. They prevent rivers from entering the cities, causing damage and flooding. Levee breaks could be a negative outcome. More information about how are levees beneficial to human settlements and what is the purpose of a levee will be discussed here. Let’s start and also find what is the purpose of a levee and what are the advantages and disadvantages of levees.

1. How are Levees Beneficial to Human Settlements?

Levees are built to improve the amount of land that can be used for settlement, although their primary function is to divert water. This prevents agricultural land from being damaged by river or sea soil. Levees are made of earth(soil). Let’s see how are levees beneficial to human settlements in the following points:

  • The change in a water body accelerates sand to the side which is a natural levee.
  • The river banks are high above the river bed. It helps to push the sand, sediments, and silt aside by the flowing river.
  • Levees lie parallel to the river flows.
  • It helps to protect the cropland.
  • It helps in stopping floods.
  • Levees prevent soil erosion. (See What is the Main Source of Water?)

2. What is the Purpose of a Levee?

A levee is a kind of artificial or natural wall that runs parallel with the river. If you ask what is the purpose of a levee, then it is to prevent flooding and slow the natural changes in the watercourse, attempting to maintain regular shipping lanes. The levee helps people to build in places that were previously avoided due to damage. (See Why Do buildings Collapse During an EarthQuake)

3. What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Levees?

Photo by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash

You have already found out how are levees beneficial to human settlements. Let’s see what are the advantages and disadvantages of levees. 


  • Safeguard the surrounding area from flood without changing the arrangement. Protect from floods that can cause damage to settlement areas or other protected areas.
  • Costs are cheaper in some circumstances than raising or moving the structure. The structure can be occupied during construction.


  • It needs regular maintenance.
  • An interior drainage system must be built.
  • Might affect the local drainage system, which can create problems for others.
  • Does not reduce the risk to abandon the place during floods.
  • Might come under government violations.
  • Might be expensive depending on the height, weight, and length. (See How does a Water Wheel work?)

4. How many Types of Levees are there?

Levees are of two types.

  • Natural Levees: A natural levee is pounded by sands settling on the river bank and eventually raises the level of land around the river.
  • Manmade Levees: Man-made levees are made by workers working on the concrete and river banks that are parallel to the water. This breakwater is flat at the top and slides down to where the water flows. Sometimes, people prefer to place sandbags over the corners. Also, check out What are Examples of Pulleys in Everyday Life?

5. How does the Levee get its name: Origin

The levee is an American term that is only used in the United States and not anywhere else. It comes from the great port city of New Orleans, Louisiana, to the embankments of the Mississippi River, which is a flood-prone area. The term levee is derived from the French word levée, which means to raise. Levees were originally built by hand to protect farms from seasonal flooding. (See Depth of Water Needed to Float Clear of the Bottom)

6. Are Dams and Levees alike?

  • Dams: Dams are man-made structures that run across water bodies. The main purpose is to build a barrier that keeps water back. It raises the water level and results in the tank being used as a water supply or to generate electricity.
  • Levees: The levee prevents river banks from exposing the flow of ocean waves. Levees are made of earth soil and form banks alongside the river. They are designed to control the flow of water to reduce flood risk.

Although both of these offer similar functions, they are not the same and can be used commutable. (See What is the Importance of Transportation in your Life?)

7. How does Levee Structure work? 

Photo by Vlad Solomon on Unsplash

To lessen the risk of flooding on the shoreline, levees and floodwalls are often constructed parallel to a waterway, most frequently a river. Man-made levees are typically composed of concrete or steel and are frequently built to raise the levee’s height without raising the base of the embankment. Under the points discussing how are levees beneficial to human settlements, you have seen that levees form a physical wall or a partition through which water cannot enter due to floods. This protects land, wildlife, and people living near water bodies. (See What are Factors affecting Soil Weathering?)

8. Can Levees fail?

You already know how are levees beneficial to human settlements, now let me tell you that levees can also be an utter failure sometimes. Natural disasters like an earthquake shake the total earth’s surface. Finally, a levee can fail if it’s not strong and large enough to put up a fight against storms or rising water levels. Also, check out How are Earthquakes Distributed on the Map?

9. What could be the Size of a Levee?

Although they can be constructed to any height, levees and floodwalls are typically limited to heights of four feet for floodwalls and six feet for levees. They are basically long and tall, depending on the size of the area that needs protection. ( See 30 Largest Coastal Cities in the World)

10. What are Flash Floods?

Flash floods are floods that happen rapidly because of snow melting or ice, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and heavy rain. This affects the lower areas, such as rivers and lakes. They can also affect the dry area due to precipitation.  Must read What are the Top 10 Worst Hurricanes in U.S. History?

Levees are a major source of flood protection for much of the United States, which has nearly 100,000 miles of principal levees. Levees are essential to avoid floods in other states of the US. Farms and villages are shielded from flooding by levees. In the United States, the word first levee appeared. The embankments are used to create both man-made and natural levees. Now, you have a clear idea of how are levees beneficial to human settlements, what is the purpose of a levee, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of levees. (Also read Can You survive a 500-foot Fall into Water?)

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