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Environment Agency unveil flood relief plans for Somerset
THE Environment Agency unveiled their flood relief plans at a packed public meeting in Huntworth on Wednesday, February 13.
The first part of their multi-stage plan is to get eight new pumps, brought over from Holland, installed at Dunball.
These Dutch pumps will pump water from the River Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain into the River Parrett north of Bridgwater.
Melvin Wood, a floods technical specialist from the Environment Agency, led the discussions. He said: “We have so much water coming down the system it has overwhelmed us.
“We have to be careful about releasing water into the Parrett or else it will have a knock on effect. If we can get more water into the Sowy, then we can release more into the Parrett and the Tone.”
After a few days of running the pumps at Dunball, the Sowy will have lowered and the Environment Agency can open the sluice gate Monks Leaze Clyce at Langport.
This will release more water into the Sowy and lower the levels in the Parrett and the Tone.
When the levels in the Parrett and Tone are lowered, the Environment Agency can start pumping the water out of the communities at Moorland and Fordgate.
Properties in Westonzoyland could potentially be put at risk with more water flowing down the Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain, but the Environment Agency assured those at the meeting that the levels flowing down the Sowy would be controlled to ensure it doesn't overflow into Westonzoyland.
An earth barrier at Huntworth is also being built as a precautionary measure to protect over 1000 homes in Bridgwater.
The levels in Northmoor are still rising at a rate of 2-4mm per day and as the water rises, it moves towards Huntworth and then into Bridgwater.
The bank at Huntworth will hold the water where more Dutch pumps are being installed to pump any floodwater collected back into the Parrett.
The Huntworth bank has additional uses. Mr Wood said: “By putting in this barrier bank at Huntworth to contain the water, it protects the road into Moorland.”
Five further pumps are being installed at Beer Wall at Othery to assist with pumping more water down the Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain.
Mr Wood said: “It will take four to six weeks to drain the levels if there was no more rain - three weeks with the Dutch pumps. It would be great if we could get six weeks of cold, dry weather”