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Flood Risk David Noble, OBE

David Noble spent a career spanning over 50 years in the flood defence and land drainage business, within the public sector and in running his own specialist consultancy, including the provision of services to the Association of Drainage Authorities, acting as it's Chief Executive. In very

much a part-time capacity he retains the position of Technical Advisor to the North East Lindsey Drainage Board, covering an area to the south of the Humber Estuary within which a large number of major indusrial sites are established. Davids' contribution to the service was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2002.

Don’t let the drought cloud the issue of flood risk

Periods of drought are not new, and going back beyond the drought experienced in 1975/76, historical rainfall records confirm the occasions when such conditions have prevailed..... and there are many.

Accompanying each period of drought is the widespread disbelief that any form of water restrictions should be necessary, accompanied by suggestions as to how these restrictions ought to have been avoided. The most common suggestions include the need for more reservoirs, constructing desalination plants and the establishment of a national water grid. These options are not without enormous promotional, technical and financial problems, some other suggestions verge on the eccentric, through their shear impracticality.

The water supply of the country is substantially dependent on storage, be it surface reservoirs or underground acquifers, and that position will not change. In the search for additional storage, quite understandably, attention can be drawn to the extensive network of rivers, drainage channels and canals as potential linear reservoirs. Whilst this would not necessarily be considered as an eccentric proposition their role in supporting public water supply could not be delivered.

The primary function of rivers and drainage channels is to convey water, which both controls flood risk an enables vast areas of land to be developed and agricultural production sustained.

Elevating water levels in these waterways, only feasible in low-lying flat gradient areas, would inevitably increase flood risk and adversely impact on land use. Over many years in those channels the trend has been to retain higher water levels, in rivers to facilitate navigation, in drainage channels to maintain higher water tables commensurate with modern farming practice. These levels established very much taken into account the flood risk implications. The water ‘stored’ to meet these operational needs, even if it could be utilised, would provide a relatively small quantity, set against daily consumption, and would certainly not prevent the need for restrictions. Against what would be a marginal benefit, the means of feeding this water into the treatment and supply system may prove impossible.

In lowland rivers and drainage channels where water can, and indeed is stored /retained for operational reasons, the drawing down of that level is severely restricted by the need to retain bank stability and to protect the important aquatic habitats.

The solution to the drought in 1976 was the

appointment in September of Dennis Howells MP as Minister of Drought, a day later it started raining, and an extremely wet autumn followed. Don’t question the power of the politician.





consultancy backed by over 30 years experience n leading-edg

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consultancy backed by over 30 years experience iin leading-edge drainage design and implementation.

design and implementation. We can provide:

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    

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For further information call 01275 337966 or .hydro-consulta

For further informatio call 01275 337966 or visit


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