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Early warning for flood-hit villagers
8:30am Friday 31st December 2010 in News
AN early warning system to give people the chance to protect their homes from flooding has been set up in a north Cotswold village.
The scheme sends text alerts to the mobile phones of key people, including flood wardens, the parish council and residents whose homes are most at risk, when the level of rainfall reaches a critical level.
The £5,500 initiative has been set up in Blockley by members of the Blockley Brooks Action Group (BBAG), which was formed in the wake of the 2007 floods, which severely damaged between 30 and 40 homes in the village. The scheme has been funded by Cotswold District Council.
Villager and BBAG member, professional water engineer Chris Walters, who came up with the scheme, said: “The rainfall in Blockley in 2007 was very local and very intense. We concluded a stream level gauge wasn’t the answer and that we needed a rain level gauge. The idea is to give people as early a warning as possible.”
The rain gauge, which has been installed and will be maintained by Met Office-approved Campbell Scientific from Leicestershire, which has also installed a water level system in Weston-sub-Edge, is situated in the village’s Station Road allotments.
The gauge is linked to a data logger, which takes hourly readings, that are transmitted to a GSM phone transmitter.
The system had critical levels for two, six, 12 and 24 hours and if the rainfall exceeds the set levels it automatically sets off an alarm, which is then sent as a text alert.
“Currently we have 12 recipients who have to ‘cascade’ the information to other people,” said Mr Walters, who has been working on the project with fellow water engineer Rupert Williams-Ellis.
Since the system went live no alarms have been raised, although Mr Walters said it would become more sophisticated as more information about rainfall patterns and behaviour was gathered.
“We are delighted that the technology allows us to do this,” he said.
BBAG coordinator Wendy Dare, of Mill Dene Gardens, is hopeful that a grant of £10,000 from CDC, matched by a similar amount from the county council, will be available to pay for a professional watercourse survey in the village.