Wet, wet, wet ... but pumps cope in West Norfolk

Latest environment news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Latest environment news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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West Norfolk has received six-weeks’ worth of rain in just two weeks.

But the scenes of flooding in Somerset are unlikely to happen thanks to the work of the King’s Lynn Internal Drainage Board.

West Norfolk has received 7.5cm of rain within the last two weeks and the average monthly rainfall is 5cm.

Chief executive Phil Camamile says the system of drains and pumping stations are not yet operating at full capacity.

He said: “Without the drainage system, flooding would be a daily occurence. The risk of flooding is substantially reduced by the work we do on an annual basis.

“We get the question of ‘why do you spend this money on drainage in this area as we never flood?’, but the reason we don’t flood here is down to the proactive work the drainage authority is doing to reduce the risk of flooding from occurring. We are not at full capacity but you never know what the weather will throw at you.

“We need to be prepared and vigilant to check pinch points and culverts so water can pass through.”

The drainage authority, which has an annual budget of £2 million, covers 64,523 hectares around Gayton, Fair Green, Lynn and along the coast to Hunstanton.

It looks after 563km of watercourse, which are maintained by 10 people, and has a total of 13 pumping stations.

Rainwater which percolates through agricultural land along with the surface water from the drains around Lynn ends up in the board’s systems.

Mr Camamile said: “The great thing about a drainage authority is that it is climate change proofing the area.

“This area is a flood plain and it has to have development for the economic health of West Norfolk.

“We make sure that there are systems in place to take the extra water.”

The authority is looking to increase its catchment area to include Snettisham, Dersingham and Heacham by taking on the responsibility of the rivers Ingol, Babingley and Heacham.

It is also looking to create storage ponds close to the Hardwick Industrial Estate and in North Lynn to provide extra protection for the town. Water from nearby drains would be diverted into the ponds to prevent flooding and could be pumped back out.

Mr Camamile said: “Conserving water is becoming of increasing importance so in the summer when we have prolonged periods of dry weather we will have that ability to hold up water and use it as it is a precious resource.”