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Environment


Courtesy of Richard Hardesty


Joined up approach can improve water availability in dry conditions, create habitats and minimise risk of future flooding.


Recognising the incredible response from all the emergency services and authorities involved, Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board were at the heart of the operation, the IDB’s Thorpe Cilvert pumping station moving 430,000m3


per


day out of the flood cell and back into Steeping River. When water levels threatened breaching the sub-station, the IDB team were joined by members of the local community, the emergency services, the Environment Agency and others, battling to keep flood water out of the station’s structure by building temporary defences, using over a thousand sandbags.


Witham Fourth District IDB also played a decisive role by taking water into their neighbouring system, from the Steeping River. They diverted water 17 miles through a well maintained drainage network and two pumping stations to get to the wash, helping to relieve pressure on the Steeping River system.


The heroic urgent intervention of all those teams working together remarkably kept the station operational throughout. Its loss would have resulted in a larger number of homes being affected in and around Wainfleet. In total, the station shifted in excess of five million cubic metres of water from the flooded area over 11 days.


Both these examples, very much replicated in lowland areas at risk across the country from the Fens to the Somerset levels, demonstrate the positive and proactive role of IDBs. Often however, there appears to be some disconnect between what happens on the ground, and the public perception.


Ultimately, IDBs are often best placed due to their connection to the local community. Public consultations help raise awareness, avert or reassure concerns but also justify expenditure and levy payments in internal drainage districts.


Mr Thomson concludes, “Working in close collaboration with the Environment Agency and other authorities and voluntary groups, IDBs provide a cost effective, efficient, local service in managing water where it really matters to people and the environment. The Wainfleet event demonstrated how professionals can come together in a very effective way behind the scenes. It is increasingly important, however, to publicise that joint service provision more and allow people to understand and support the work being done to reduce the risk of their lives being affected by flooding and drought”.


ASSOCIATION OF DRAINAGE AUTHORITIES 59


TEL: 02476 992889


WWW.ADA.ORG.UK


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