Southern Water has set outs its approach to flooding following a number of flooding incidents it is currently dealing with due to the severe weather – including a pledge to invest a total of £268 million on flood protection schemes up to 2020.
Setting out its role, the water company has explained that flooding is a complex issue and one for which many agencies and organisations, including councils, the Environment Agency, highways authorities, landowners and water companies are responsible.
The water company said it is not the agency directly responsible for investigating and solving groundwater, river flooding or surface water problems- issues which often impact adversely on the sewer network - , however, it works alongside other organisations to help address the issue collectively.
Southern Water teams have been working round the clock in areas suffering from sewer flooding, with incident managers reviewing the flooding situation on a daily basis.
The water company uses tankers and jetting equipment to keep sewers flowing and to mitigate the risk of sewer flooding in affected areas. It is also increasingly using new technology, such as live monitoring of the sewer network in hot spot areas, to spot problems and take action before they affect customers.
Southern Water also points out that it has invested £12 million over the last 3 years in a programme to survey and seal sewers in hot-spot areas to prevent infiltration from groundwater flooding issues and have pledged to invest a total of £268 million on flood protection schemes up to 2020.
This will mean increased joint working across agencies that impact on drainage issues, such as the Environment Agency, local authorities and highways agencies, according to the water company.
The issue of blockages is also flagged up - more than 60% of blockages and the resulting flooding incidents are actually caused by the things customers dispose of down the drain. Southern Water said it is working hard to help customers understand what should be disposed of down the drain and how they can help in reducing flooding. The firm is also working actively to target food establishments and businesses that use the sewers inappropriately, educating them and if necessary taking enforcement action.
Click here for more information on the Environment Agency’s major three-day conference and exhibition Flood and Coast 2016 which takes place from 23rd to 25th February 2016 in Telford.