Flooding is the biggest problem the UK faces as a result of climate change. We need to adapt and become more resilient. We have recently launched a range of Community Flood Kits.
I also wanted to share one of my top tips on how a community can become more resilient. This idea proved incredibly effective in my community and actually managed to help us prevent flooding on multiple occasions. It’s such a simple solution, and incredibly cost effective. In 2007, the village flooded 5 times in June and July. You can imagine the scene, rain the like of which would normally be seen in the tropics hit the village and the Main Street became like a brown fast flowing river. As the waters receded, it became apparent that a number of the drains were blocked and not taking water away. As these drains were underwater, it was very hard to locate them to attempt unblocking them. I believe this makes for a dangerous situation.
On other occasions, there have been times where flooding occurred due to either surface water being unable to get into the drains, or the stream overflowing at one location, and then being unable to drain back into the culvert as drains were blocked with debris. This usually occurs in Autumnal months. Leaves fall off the trees, sitting on the road, and forming a seal over the drains. The minute there is heavy rainfall, the drains prove ineffective.
Whilst the Council will have maintenance plans in place for drains, in Autumnal months, new leaves can fall each day, covering drains and blocking them. On these occasions, with water flooding the road, one of our new community resilience schemes proved its worth. Drains had been numbered prior, with markers, spray painted above the high-water level. This meant that although the road was starting to fill with water, the drain locations were known and the covers could be raked. By clearing the leaves, the water quickly disappeared – stopping the flooding! These have proved useful on a number of occasions.
Without the drain markers, valuable time would have been lost and the flooding could have impacted many homes. These can be installed for the cost of a template and can of spray paint!
The community used the numbers purely to rake drain covers, and not for more serious drain cleaning. It also made it easier for us to report any major blockages to the Council – the number could be submitted and it ensured the correct drain was cleaned effectively.
You need to consider the permissions required to mark the drains (it’s usually on resident’s wall). You will also need to consider any Health & Safety risks.
This proved effective in our Nottinghamshire Village community, and could be well worth further investigation for your area.
Simon Crowther BEng (Hons)