Another ancient response is to build levees to keep rivers in their channelsand to make them more navigable in the bargain. People around the world still rely on levees, for example along the Mississippi. But as the 1993 Midwest deluge demonstrated, levees can be overwhelmed.
The threat of flooding is exacerbated by excessive land-clearing and cultivation, which reduces the ability of soil to retain water and encourages runoff. Restoration of trees and other vegetationas well as soil management techniques such as crop rotation and contour plowinghelps control flooding. Another method is to artificially widen rivers at certain points to prevent overflow in other areas.
An obvious way to try to avoid floods is to live somewhere other than a floodplain. But for a variety of reasons, many people choose to live near water. The inconvenience or catastrophe of a flood is the price they sometimes pay.