Connected By Water Alliance To Tackle South Yorkshire Flooding
A new South Yorkshire alliance has been struck up to build flood resilience in the region and respond effectively to the climate emergency, with rising sea levels and wetter winters with more intense rainfall increasing the risk of flooding from surface water, rivers and the public sewer network.
The partnership project includes the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Rotherham Council, Barnsley Council, Sheffield City Council, Doncaster Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.
This move comes after the South Yorkshire floods in November 2019. On November 7th and 8th, persistent heavy rain caused rapid rises in river levels, with 150 per cent of the average monthly rainfall coming down in just 48 hours over the middle reaches of the River Don, which had a widespread impact across the region.
This led to one of the biggest flood events in the last 50 years of records in this particular river catchment, with approximately 1,600 properties affected by the flooding. Some 1,200 homes were evacuated, with key road and rail infrastructure affected.
The new alliance is now determined to explore all the measures and strategies available to adapt to and mitigate climate change in South Yorkshire, working to deliver flood risk management schemes and plan catchment-wide measures for the future.
It will work with communities and partners to deliver the Connected by Water plan, which outlines the steps due to be taken to reduce flood risks and develop more resilient local communities, who will be better able to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
One of the key elements of the plan is nature-based solutions, which will help the alliance achieve its goals by reducing flood risks, mitigating climate change and restoring nature by storing carbon and protecting the local environment.
Although South Yorkshire’s landscapes and rivers are what make it vulnerable to flooding, they also represent some of the region’s most precious assets. Wetland nature reserves can be found along the Dearne and Rother in Barnsley and Rotherham, for example, while you’ll also find nationally significant lowland peat bogs in the Lower Don in Doncaster.
Infrastructure upgrades also form a key part of the new plan. For example, Yorkshire Water has invested £78 million into the Blackburn Meadows wastewater treatment works to help it meet future challenges in line with more extreme weather events and the predicted population increase.
A new South Yorkshire Flood Risk Investment Tool is also now being developed to bring together flood risk data and evidence from across the region to ensure that flood risk investment is targeted to help maximise the benefits across South Yorkshire.
For every £1 spent on protecting local communities, approximately £5 in property damages is avoided, so plans such as this one are sure to be welcome news for all those in South Yorkshire and beyond.
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