Levee system transformation in coevolution between humans and water systems along the Kiso River, Japan

Nakamura, Shinichiro; Nakai, Fuko; Ito, Yuichiro; Okada, Ginga; Oki, Taikan

Floodplain societies decide whether to protect themselves against floods (fight), live with floods (adapt), or adopt an approach that represents some combination of the two. The formation of a levee system is an important factor in determining whether a society fights or adapts to floods; however, these factors have been considered fixed boundaries in previous studies in human–flood interactions. We analyze a levee system transformation process covering the past century, from the indigenous ring-type levee system with floods to modern continuous levees against floods in the Kiso River basin in Japan by applying a historical sociohydrological approach. The results show degradation processes of the indigenous levee system and traditional communities alongside the installation of modern continuous levees, and a trade-off relationship was observed between the lengths of both. There are interactions between the levee systems and the human–water system through various water uses and different-scale components, and the dynamics within the region are connected to external socioeconomic trends through the installed modern levees and institutions.

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Nakamura, Shinichiro / Nakai, Fuko / Ito, Yuichiro / et al: Levee system transformation in coevolution between humans and water systems along the Kiso River, Japan. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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