People have lived in floodplains for thousands of years. Fertile land for agriculture lines the floodplain, and the nearby water source makes life easier. Unfortunately, when the river does flood, these communities are severely damaged and people suffer. Hazard mitigation, such as levees, dams, dikes and other structures, attempt to limit damage during floods. Sometimes, when the structures fail (such as a levee breaking), large areas are inundated with water. Inhabitants of floodplains must balance the risks with the rewards of living in such an unpredictable environment.