SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Community flood alerts

The aim of this project is to try out ways of setting up very localised early flood warning systems, through using smart, low-cost, low-maintenance devices at key locations identified by flood wardens, flood group members and residents.

In parts of West Somerset there is felt to be a particular need for faster and more detailed information about specific local flood risks than it is currently possible to provide through the Environment Agency’s system of alerts and warnings. In ‘rapid response’ catchments with high-sided valleys and deep lanes, flood waters can rise very quickly when there is heavy rain on the hills, posing high risks to people’s lives.

The SRA’s remit is to provide extra services meeting local priorities through working in partnership. In response, therefore, to requests from West Somerset Flood Group, the SRA’s new community engagement team have been working with the Environment Agency and Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium on research into flood alert systems and suppliers. Lessons have been learned from localised Environment Agency trials in Devon and Northamptonshire.

A preferred supplier has now been identified. Procurement and installation will start in the Washford catchment – including Luxborough and Roadwater – in the second half of 2020.

A timely coincidence

On the same morning this Annual Report was approved by the SRA Board, Teresa Bridgeman – the Chair of West Somerset Flood Group – tweeted as below:

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