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Thames Water partners with local councils to improve surface water management

Thames Water partners with local councils to improve surface water management

Wednesday 23rd December 2020 09:25

A section of pavement with a garden containing green plants built into it.

Thames Water is partnering with five councils to reduce the risk of surface water and sewer flooding across London and the Thames Valley.

The company will be working with Hounslow Council, Lambeth Council and a partnership of Cherwell, Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse councils over the next five years.

The councils successfully bid for Thames Water funding to develop and deliver eco-friendly projects that ensure the safe management of rainwater, which can overwhelm the sewer system and lead to flooding in homes, businesses and the environment.

Each of the three partnerships will receive up to £3 million in funding, as well as receive guidance and advice from Thames Water.

Sustainable drainage solutions, such as raingardens and using green spaces to temporarily store rainwater after heavy rainfall, mimic nature by absorbing rain into the ground or slowing its journey to drains and sewers.

As well as reducing flood risk, this approach also provides wider benefits, such as improving the local environment, reducing air pollution and helping biodiversity. Through the partnerships Thames Water and the councils will look to install these solutions on council land.

Krishna Ramjeeawon, programme manager for Thames Water’s surface water management programme, said “Finding innovative and sustainable ways to manage surface water and protect properties from flooding is central to what we do. Working in collaboration with these councils, who are already improving our streets and urban places, will help us find creative ways to manage surface water drainage in areas where our sewers have limited capacity to deal with excess water flows.”

Councillor Claire Holland, deputy leader (sustainable transport, environment & clean air) at Lambeth Council said “We are delighted to be selected as one of Thames Water’s strategic partners over the coming years. The increase in flood risk as a result of climate change remains one of the biggest impacts to residents of our borough. Increasing Lambeth’s blue/green infrastructure is vital to adapting and increasing our resilience to flood risk and the wider impacts of climate change and this partnership will play a significant role in that.”

Councillor Claire Holland, deputy leader (sustainable transport, environment & clean air) at Lambeth Council said “We are delighted to be selected as one of Thames Water’s strategic partners over the coming years. The increase in flood risk as a result of climate change remains one of the biggest impacts to residents of our borough. Increasing Lambeth’s blue/green infrastructure is vital to adapting and increasing our resilience to flood risk and the wider impacts of climate change and this partnership will play a significant role in that.”

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for environment, said: “I am delighted that Oxfordshire County Council, working in partnership with Cherwell and Vale of White Horse district councils, has managed to obtain this funding from Thames Water which will allow us to focus on reducing the flood risk from surface water and, in doing so, will lessen the impact on Thames Water’s systems.”

Councillor Pritam Grewal, cabinet member for customer services and corporate performance at Hounslow Council, said: “We are pleased to have been awarded funding to work in partnership with Thames Water which will enable Hounslow to become more resilient to flooding and climate change.

“There is a focus on delivering a variety of projects which increase and enrich green spaces in the borough, improving the natural environment as part of the council’s commitment to tackle climate change and increase biodiversity. We want to continue making Hounslow a more sustainable and quality place for communities and residents.”

The successful councils were selected from a total of nine different bids, all of which were very strong and comprehensive. As a result, Thames Water is continuing discussions with the unsuccessful bidders to identify specific projects within their areas that could be funded over the next five years.

The company will be working other partners, including non-governmental organisations, transport and utility companies on similar schemes across London and the Thames Valley.

Last year, Thames Water installed state-of-the-art permeable pavements to protect homes in West London from flooding. The pavements, which absorb rainwater and slowly release it into the sewer network, were installed on six roads in Hammersmith and Fulham as part of the Counters Creek Flood Alleviation Scheme. 

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