Working with water - our letter to The Times

WaterDear Sir,

For generations we have encouraged water to flow down to the sea as fast as possible (Flooding chaos calls for a water strategy, Feb 1).

Our recent water catchment studies have shown just how wrong we have been. Building flood barriers, diverting rivers and building pumping stations increase the flood risk to those lower down a catchment.

Where we have restored natural processes to hold water back by making our field soils more absorbent, blocking ditches and building ponds - flooding lower down a catchment is reduced. We need to start working with water not against it.

Andrew Gilruth
Director of Communications, Marketing & Membership
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

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at 19:10 on 14/02/2016 by Rupert Best

Agree the answer is to dig out the ditches and clear obstructions in the river without interference by DEFRA. Their job is to maintain drainage. That includes dredging the estuaries so that water from the rivers can get away. Sea levels around the UK are not rising. In the South West annual average MHWS has been unchanged for the last 50 years.

working with water

at 8:12 on 10/02/2016 by michael Gerald

could I remind Andrew Gilruth that he should always take the opportunity to mention that if a river bed that has in the last risen 1 meter in the last 20 years that it will not drain as fast as before AND if we continue to build houses in flood plains they will stop the water table lowering in the summer months thus prevent it absorb more water in the winter months. This message needs to be reinforced at every opportunity as no matter how much we hold back water in the high ground eventually the capacity will overflow


at 0:22 on 10/02/2016 by Robert Thomas

There is no " one size fits all " solution to flooding; each catchment area has its own peculiarities . It is however ridiculous micro management to require farmers to have to seek permission to dig out ditches wider than one metre; make it three metres at least. What added value does the EPA or SEPA bring to the issue anyway ? Do they send really experienced engineers with good local knowledge to assess each issue. They don't have the manpower to be wasting time on such petty issues. What evidence do you have that digging out ditches and waterways harms the environment ? It was a regular post harvest job for many, many years with no apparent harm to the environment. The quicker water flows out to the sea the less flooding you will have. If you create artificial barriers on the way you will cause flooding. Trees, bogs, reservoirs can help to absorb initial flood waters but once saturated are not much further help. You dismiss an age old solution that worked, but has been degraded by environmental priorities, and introduce a new " solution " that seems to involve yet more unproven environmental solutions. Robert Thomas.

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