The human consequences of flooding in Lightwater in 2006 and 2007 was one of the reasons I become a local councillor. The passion for ‘something must be done’.
In 2006, Lightwater’s once in a 100yr event, the flooding was close to home. A bunch of our neighbours, using hand-to-hand buckets, stopped my next door neighbour from being flooded. I met people whose homes had suffered serious flooding. It was months before they were able to return to their homes.
In 2007 Lightwater experienced heavy rainfall that led to some homes being flooded again. Some of the people I met when fact-finding after those floods I’m now pleased to call friends.
So, where am I going with this? In the years since these floods I’ve retained improving flood resilience as a passion. In Surrey Heath we have continued to invest, as has the County Council, in many small flood prevention schemes, and necessary maintenance of drains, ditches, watercourses, and streams.
The result is that Surrey Heath, and Lightwater in particular, is now better able to cope with the recent heavy rainfall, without residents being fearful of flooding. There’s still ongoing work to improve flood resilience even further.
At this Monday’s planning applications meeting I met one of the friends I mentioned above. We both briefly compared notes on how Lightwater is coping with the current heavy rain. She said that the bed of the Lightwater stream had been cleared, and I said that the blocked drains in Lightwater Road and the mass of leaves in the gutter had also been cleared. We parted with a smile, acknowledging that the maintenance systems were working.
Two final points, I spoke again this week to the Boroughs drainage engineer to thank him for all the small works that have added up to a big improvement, and to check on the progress of his Lightwater study. Which reminds me, I promised him some rainfall data for Lightwater, and some photos I’ve taken on my walks of ground water run off.