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Ridge or wall to hold back water / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A levee (/ˈlɛvi/),[1][2] dike (American English), dyke (Commonwealth English), embankment, floodbank, or stop bank is a structure that is usually earthen and that often runs parallel to the course of a river in its floodplain or along low-lying coastlines.[3]

Components of a levee:
  1. Design high water level (HWL)
  2. Low water channel
  3. Flood channel
  4. Riverside slope
  5. Riverside banquette
  6. Levee crown
  7. Landside slope
  8. Landside banquette
  9. Berm
  10. Low water revetment
  11. Riverside land
  12. Levee
  13. Protected lowland
  14. River zone
The side of a levee in Sacramento, California

The purpose of a levee is to keep the course of rivers from changing and to protect against flooding of the area adjoining the river or coast. Levees can be naturally occurring ridge structures that form next to the bank of a river, or be an artificially constructed fill or wall[citation needed] that regulates water levels. However levees can be bad for the environment.[4]

Ancient civilizations in the Indus Valley, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China all built levees. Today, levees can be found around the world, and failures of levees due to erosion or other causes can be major disasters.[citation needed]