Could the reservoirs solve our flooding problems?

I’VE had some interesting reactions to my column outlining the Environment Agency’s River Thames Scheme aimed at safeguarding homeowners and businesses on our stretch of the Thames from future flooding.

John Carter from Chertsey said: “I find the the EA flood plans pitiful.  Why more than 10 years to complete and why not fully-financed by the government?

£256 million over 11 years is approx £23 million a year.

“Our annual foreign aid budget is in excess of £10,000 million. About time we used some of this aid at home to reduce the risk of further flood disasters like those recently experienced.”

I couldn’t agree more, John. It seems ludicrous that the Government isn’t prepared to protect its citizens on the Thames by underwriting the whole cost of the scheme.

Meanwhile Frank Neate came up with an interesting idea that I’ve never heard mentioned before but which sounds like it has some potential.

He said: “Reference your article in the Surrey Herald, I thought you may be interested in a different approach to alleviate the perennial flooding problem between Datchet and Chertsey.

“Up until a few years ago, I spent considerable time as a contractor with Thames Water and for part of the period, I was involved with commissioning a number of Thames river to the local reservoir pump control systems between the Datchet intake and the Surbiton pumping station (ex-water treatment works).

“During this work I could see that the pumping regime could have an impact on the river flow. I suggest that any plans to control flooding on this stretch of the river without at the least considering the many local reservoirs as temporary storage could be a lost opportunity. There are at least seven reservoirs in this section of the river.”

Now I haven’t heard this suggestion before and it may not present a total solution to the problem of flooding but it seems to me to have some merit and to deserve proper investigation.

Thanks for sharing this, Frank – it will be interesting to see whether anyone at the EA has a comment to make about it.

I’ve been meaning to draw attention to the following for some time but one or two other things have got in the way.

It’s simply to say a sincere ‘thank you’ on behalf of all Thames users and residents to the lovely Michael Shefras who has recently retired as the chairman of RUG8 – the River Users’ Group, which covers our stretch of the river.

Michael, from Wraysbury, has worked tirelessly on behalf of river users for many, many years and has earned the respect of both the various authorities he has dealt with and of those he represents.

Some people take it for granted that ‘they’ will solve whatever problems occur. Mike Shefras has taken on that responsibility and done a fantastic job. Thanks – and take it easy, Mike.

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