In news from Permaculture Research Institute, the town of Pickering remained dry during recent UK flooding, implementing age old remedies.
The towns triumph should influence the decisions that were made by policy makers after last month’s floods that saw, at least, £5 billion channeled to flood control schemes elsewhere. The success of the town is a mock to the people who believe that flood cannot be prevented in an environmentally friendly manner. The people who subscribe to this school of thought fail to understand why the government fails to take into account all safety measures and insist on dredging waterways, in order to protect fauna and flora.
Dredging is mostly unsafe, pointless and environmentally unsafe. This is because scooping of silt and weed from the river bed causes water to flow faster increasing the danger of downstream flooding.
Pickering is situated at the bottom of a steep gorge draining of the North York Moors, the residents of the town have been victims of perennial flooding. There have been four floods recorded since 1999-2007 causing damage of about £7 million. The solution mooted to the residents was to build a £20 million wall to keep water out of the river. This solution was, however, disadvantageous as it would reduce the attractiveness of the area hence reduce tourism. It was also found to be uneconomically viable as the costs would outweigh the benefits accrued; too few people would be protected by the wall.
City leader sought advice and,“Were told of how the moors in the area released water more slowly and how a bund built by monks centuries ago held the excess water back.”
This is how they did it:
The work began of building 167 leaky dams, 187 lesser obstructions and 29 hectares of woodland. After some haggling, they also built a bund. The result? The average flow of water was retained, but high flows of water were slowed down. Three months after the project was officially opened, the floods came calling on the rest of England, and the residents of the town unlike the past watched it on their televisions. All this was achieved at a cost of less than £2million.
Here’s more excellent flood prevention advice from this report:
Trees absorb water faster than grasslands. Sixty times faster to be precise. Another issue is helping other farmers to stop overstocking of livestock. The sheep compact the grass with their hooves reducing the ability of the soil to absorb water that results in excess water running off. The cities have become concrete jungles with very little soil but full of sewers that are not able to adequately handle the excess water.
Photo from York Press dated January of 2014, shows Pickering steering committee shovel ceremony.