World Water Day and how we’re reducing flood risk

To mark World Water Day (Tuesday 22 March), we’re highlighting the innovative work being done to reduce the risk of flooding to properties in a vulnerable part of Brighton & Hove.

Work is currently taking place on Carden Avenue as part of a pilot project called Shaping Climate change Adaptive PlacEs (SCAPE) which is partly funded by the European Union’s ‘Interreg 2 Seas’ programme. 

It involves directing surface water which runs down the road into basins where pollutants are collected and cleaner water can then then be absorbed into city’s natural aquifer below.

The idea is to mimic natural systems in which gravity and landform are used to remove as much excess rainwater flow as early as possible.

This can help reduce the risk of flooding during heavy downpours when drainage systems can get overwhelmed.

Phase one of the project at Darcy Drive has already been completed with phase two between Carden Hill and County Oak Avenue scheduled to be finished later this spring.

Why are we doing this?

Brighton & Hove is ranked 8th of top 10 Flood Risk Areas in England with surface water run-off from heavy rainfall posing the biggest problems.

Over 30,000 properties in the city are at risk of flooding 

The SCAPE project is providing us with the opportunity to explore and test innovative ways of helping to reduce this risk and is also cheaper than more traditional methods of trying to manage flood risk.

"a picture of a basin submerged in a grass verge"

Picture: An example of the work being done on Carden Avenue

Listening to community and expert advice

The SCAPE project has been running since 2017. In that time we have held regular meetings where residents have been able to learn more, ask questions and share local knowledge about problems in the area.

The council is also working with Robert Bray Associates and local partners including Southern Water and The Aquifer Partnership to benefit from their water management training, skills and computer modelling expertise. 

If successful, the techniques used and lessons learned can be applied to the many other similar problem areas in the city.

"a picture of two men squtting down on a grass verge"

Picture: Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty and councillor Jamie Lloyd seeing the work done so far

Councillor Jamie Lloyd, member of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee said: “I’ve been down to see the work on Carden Avenue and I’ve been very impressed.

“The project is using extremely clever techniques to lower the risk of flooding to properties, but using the natural landscape to make sure it still looks pleasant to people living nearby.

“We know that flooding is an existing problem in the city and one that is sadly only going to get worse with climate change.

"By using techniques like this, we can help to reduce the risks to our homes and businesses in a way that also enhances the look of the city. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can learn from this project and how we apply those lessons.”

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