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Gadgets in sewers will help predict flooding

Around 100 monitors have been installed in the Bournemouth sewerage system to more accurately understand how sewers respond during rainfall events.

Following last year’s floods, Wessex Water installed monitors at key points in its sewers to record the depth and velocity of flow. They are used to calibrate computer models which predict locations where flooding may occur during extreme weather events.

Sewerage planning manager David Martin said: “The severe flooding in Bournemouth last year bordered on a major emergency and we are doing all we can to ensure that should such a storm event happen again, the effects are not as damaging.

“Building new infrastructure to cope with storms is costly and disruptive to local communities so these computer models will help us understand where best to increase capacity and optimise where investment goes.”

Wessex Water is responsible for flooding from the public sewerage system and Bournemouth Borough Council is responsible for managing the risk of overland flooding from surface water run-off.

David added: “The new monitors will help ourselves and Bournemouth Borough Council to understand the interaction between flow above and below the ground so we can effectively design joint capacity improvement schemes where there is shared responsibility.”

The company is financing the majority of the survey and Bournemouth Borough Council is funding additional monitors at areas identified as high priority by the Councillors Flooding Group.

Wessex Water is investing £40m between 2010 and 2015 to reduce flood risk. It is building computer models at a further 55 locations in the region before 2015 and aims to visit lower risk catchments by 2020.

Source: Wessex Water

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