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March 9, 2020 10:26 PM
By Pete Roberts in GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20
Flooded Street (Pete Roberts)

Flooded Street

facebook Imagine emptying a full pint glass out into a funnel with an exit hole the size of a pea, pour too fast and the water comes out the top and all over the counter. That is what happened in Hereford this Monday 17th February 2020.

Except it wasn't a pint it was all the rainfall that fell on the Cambrian Mountains and beyond. Even the Elan Valley reservoirs, usually a buffer in the system were overflowing.

This time it made the news but this is the second major flood in Hereford this winter following Octobers storms.

After a string of wet summers and heavy winter rainfall our uplands are saturated. Water that used to soak into the peat is now flowing over it into the rivers, reservoirs are not drying out in summer months so their flood prevention capacity is reduced and the rains are getting heavier.

Make no mistake this is Britain in the era of global climate change. A decade on from the Pitt report we are still building massive expensive defences to protect individual sites and moving the problem downstream.

We need to make a step change, we will never win in a battle against water in our towns. Alongside the big infrastructure projects we need two more changes. We must plan resilience into all new build in a flood plain and in our uplands we must manage the land to slow the rate of water flow. If we don't major incidents such those on the Wye, Usk and Taff to name but a few this weekend will no longer be newsworthy they will be as much a fact of life as death and taxes.

Pete Roberts

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From GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20

Flooded Street (Pete Roberts)

Flooded Street