SRA Annual Report 2018-19: New Screech Owl pump case study (W1)

A new electric pump operates at the Screech Owl outfall into the River Parrett near Bridgwater. Triggered into action by remote sensing systems, it benefits houses close to Bridgwater & Taunton Canal and several businesses, including the Argos distribution centre, the Boat & Anchor Inn, The Canalside conference centre and JJ Motors.

Flood water can now be pumped out automatically from the Screech Owl outfall. Water could not previously pass into the Parrett when the river was experiencing high flows, for tidal and/or fluvial reasons.

The graphs below show trends in rainfall and corresponding water levels. The peaks and troughs signal the pump operating and stopping in response to those water levels. Before the pump was installed, water levels in the Marsh Lane area of Huntworth would have steadily increased until river levels in the Parrett had dropped enough for water to be able to get out through the Screech Owl outfall. So the pump is a real benefit to the local area.

Water levels


The pump’s successful operation rounds off a plan drawn up when Marsh Lane was first developed.

As the area was known for drainage problems, mitigating flood risk reduction measures included the creation of attenuation lagoons and channel improvements going down to the Screech Owl outfall.

A concrete chamber was also built for a pump, though there was no money to buy a pump.

Only because of the SRA was it possible to purchase and install a pump – a far more effective pump than was originally envisaged – and to bring electricity to the site to power it.

This scheme was delivered for the SRA by the Environment Agency, using contractors Nomenca.

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