No end in sight to flooding problem
5:27pm Wednesday 8th January 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
WROUGHTON residents are bunkering down with sandbags as they are left to face floodwaters on their own.
Baker’s Road has been hit with some of the worst of the recent floods, as its defences have been unable to contain the surge of water threatening to overwhelm their homes from the nearby Overtown reservoir.
Fire crews have been working in shifts to keep the waters at bay, but will be forced to leave the area soon andthe residents will have to fend for themselves.
Holly Woodward, 53, of Woodham Mill on Baker’s Road, and husband Alan, 52, are doing everything they can to battle the rising waters.
“Up until Wednesday morning the fire brigade had managed to hold the flood,” said Holly.
“But within 15 minutes of the first rains a huge wall of water came down and everything was flooded, far worse than it had been the previous time.
“The fire brigade are now using smaller pumps, but they can’t leave because if they stop pumping the street the water will come straight back. So they are stuck here.”
Swindon Council is sending 350 sandbags to the Woodwards to help them to protect their homes, and the fire brigade will build a temporary wall until more permanent measures can be agreed.
“That should do the job, and it is the only thing that can be done at the moment,” said Holly.
“A new fire crew turns up every five or six hours, but they can’t stay forever. They are doing a brilliant job, and doing everything they can.
“The problem is they are there to deal with emergencies, not ongoing problems. Our flood defences are beginning to go, they are crumbling. We have walls all around the houses and they are being repeatedly tested.
“We have no idea what is going to happen over the next few days, it all depends on the weather. But we are expecting more rain, so it is just going to happen again.”
Holly and Alan have done what they can so far, but have relied on the help of the fire brigade.
“We did a botch job ourselves with bits of wood and plastic beams, and that held it until now,” said Holly. “We have also bought ourselves a pump, but the biggest we could buy over the counter was completely inadequate. It pumps 800 litres a minute, but it is not even touching the sides. The fire brigade are using two 1,200-litre pumps just to keep it at a low level.”
Coun Ann Richards, (Lib Dem, Wroughton and Wichelstowe), said the problem needs to be sorted at its source. “I do intend to pursue this and find out who the responsibility should lie with,” she said.
“People are worried because it is clearly going to rain again, and the water has nowhere to go. I am going to see if we can produce any more sandbags, because the problem at the moment seems to be if it rains heavily again the walls may give way and water will rush into their properties.
“The fire brigade have been wonderful, but that is not dealing with the source of the problem.”
l Online flooding consultation: Page 11