My thoughts go out to all families and businesses affected by the recent flooding. I hope that times like these bring about an increase of community spirit and fellowship in adversity. Babbling brooks running at the bottom of gardens were once deemed a natural asset to any gardener and a beautiful selling point of many properties but have in late become a hated enemy threatening the comfort of many homes.
Many ideas are being forwarded to prevent more flooding in the future, but expert opinions remain divided. Read any article written in the last couple of weeks and reports suggest between 3-15 solutions. Clearly a multi-faceted response is required across several industries. Some solutions directly involve farmers and landowners, such as: improved soil management which will improve the absorption of huge quantities of rainwater; the creation of flood storage areas upstream would allow rivers more time to cope during storms and so protect downstream properties vulnerable to flash flooding; and reforesting on steep farmland will slow down waters when rivers do overflow. Trees use many times the volume of water in the summer than in the autumn and winter but not even the mighty lonely Oak can be of significant help at this time of year when transpiration is very low.
It is ironic that farmers can be very short of water for their crops during the summer months and bans on withdrawing water from rivers by the authorities during these periods are common. To my way of thinking one way to reduce pressure on downstream towns and villages would be to encourage farmers to manage storm water on their farms. Water could be controlled, after capital investment, by using gravity and a bit of natural farming ingenuity. The following pictures are of the River Severn flooding into Shrewsbury town approx. 25 miles away from us.