|High Tide in Saundersfoot|
Know Your Flood Risk
How likely is your property to experience flooding – what is the risk?
These are questions posed by Andy Irving, Flood Incident Management Team Leader with the Environment Agency when he addressed the recent meeting of Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group.
The power and destructive capability of flood water is enormous. Andy demonstrated this with video clips of a major road being washed away by a small stream in spate and a substantial garden wall being demolished by flood water.
Local examples of flood damage were shown with pictures of a submerged McDonalds at Haverfordwest caused by river flooding and extensive damage to residential property in Llanelli caused by a combination of surface flood water and an inadequate sewage system.
Coastal areas were particularly at risk and most such areas were now covered by the Flood Warning Service. Saundersfoot will be included in this service during the next 12 months. This gives 6-12 hours notice of a likely problem.
Andy explained how mapping was used to predict risk areas. Stepaside had a river level monitoring system in place which activated warning messages. The Salterns in Tenby were liable to flooding. A 5'3” culvert under the railway line was constantly monitored so that any debris could be cleared to keep the river flowing. A back flap closes for approximately 4 hours at high tide to stop the sea water entering. Mapping of Saundersfoot showed the low lying areas of the village which were at risk of flooding.
The Flood Warning Service, said Andy, was free. It currently covered three quarters of Wales and was available to properties within areas at risk of flooding. The aim was to warn people of imminent flood risk. Predicting events relied upon a range of information, from river and rain gauges, cameras, Met Office forecasts and tide times. The level of risk ranged from low to severe.
The Agency was very keen to encourage community engagement. People were often in denial. The media, contact with the public, visits to schools, community councils, talks to groups were all ways of communicating the seriousness of the problem. Community Flood Plans could be drawn up by Community Councils with the support and input from the Environment Agency. Individuals, businesses and schools were being encouraged to draw up flood plans to enable sensible action to be taken rather than there being a panic reaction to a fast changing situation.
The Chair thanked Andy for his stimulating and challenging presentation. It was clear that though floods in many cases could not be prevented communities could develop action plans to minimise distress and damage.
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|24th June 2011||The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre|
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|25th February 2011||Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency|
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