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« Welfare reform. Again. | Main | Rain and rain and rain »
Thursday
Dec142006

After the deluge

Well, the flood waters were gone by the morning. It was amazing that, where the river had rushed along the main road last night, there was now no sign that anything had happened at all. We seem to have made it to the BBC website. Rather impressively they have managed to get the identification of the river wrong - it was the Back Burn rather than the River Queich which flooded the town centre. The Quiech skirts the edge of the town half a mile away.

Questions are already being asked about why the new flood defences failed. The risk to the town centre comes from the Back Burn passing through a culvert under the Town Hall and the main road. If the volume of water is too high it backs up until it the river bursts its banks just upstream of the culvert.

The new flood defences seem to have involved clearing the river bed of debris and building up the retaining walls in this critical area above the culvert. Now, I'm no expert, but all this seems to do is to increase the flow of water towards the choke point, but seeking to contain it. But isn't building up the walls rather futile in the face of a major flood? Surely even the tallest wall can't hope to contain this volume of water? Shouldn't a proper flood defence scheme aim to move the choke point much further upstream to somewhere where excess water can be released away from civilisation? 

Who decided on this particular design of flood defence? Are they qualified? How much were they paid? We need to know. 

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