Then help climate scientists understand past rainfall variations and improve models for future flooding events?
The UK has an amazing repository of rainfall records from the last 200 years, but most of this is handwritten and not that easy to use in the current era. The Rainfall Rescue Project is seeking volunteers to transfer all these old handwritten pages of rainfall data into online spreadsheets.
It’s easy to do a few tens of records a day without getting bored to tears, but I recommend that you choose the option to transcribe local records because it is easier to read the handwritten locations if you recognise the place names!
The Environment Agency is hosting 7 public drop-in events from 26 February to 20 March. Come along to find out more about flood risk in Reading and Caversham, what residents can do to prepare and our updated plans for a possible flood scheme. There will also be information on how climate change may increase flood risk in the future.
Over 700 properties are at risk from a major flood in Reading and Caversham. The latest design to reduce flood risk includes a combination of flood walls and embankments, temporary flood barriers and a channel.
After listening to feedback from the public, we have made changes to the proposed design and have new information to share. At the drop-ins, there will be landscape plans and photos showing what the scheme could look like if it is built. There will also be photos of historical flooding and information about local flood risk and how you can sign up for warnings.
It is important to note that the project is still at an early stage, so it does not yet have the relevant permissions and may not go ahead.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the first page there are hyperlinks to the plans etc.
The website describes what happens next:
The Environment Agency will consider all of the following information and use it together to make a decision on which, if any of the options we will take forward.
Landowners wishes, as shared through results of this consultation, feedback from individual meetings and feedback from the landowner drop-in held on the 26 June 2018.
Public views, as shown by the results of this consultation and feedback gathered at our public drop-ins.
Planning application requirements and recommendations.
Technical restrictions. When we develop the detail of the design we may discover physical restrictions that have not shown up during our initial investigations, these could include space available for construction, size of foundations required, archaeological findings, endangered species, to name a few. Any such findings could mean that we have to change the detail of the option or even consider a different, previously discounted option.
Cost of the proposal and funding available. The project would be partly funded by central government, but there is still a need to find more funding, for example from organisations and businesses that will benefit.
The time it will take to design, build and construct
Maintenance. We would need to agree who would be responsible for maintaining any new structures before putting a new structure in place.
Wildlife and landscape. If we develop an option then wildlife and landscape will be taken into consideration, and where possible we will look to improve landscape and habitat. We will always mitigate for any habitat and species that has been unavoidably impacted as a result of work we do to reduce flooding.
There is an opportunity here to take advantage of some of the £2.8 billion that the government has made available for flood alleviation, between now and 2021. All schemes will need to be partnership funded though so we will need to raise money to make this happen.
Hopefully, we can get the consultants to model the impacts of climate change on future River Thames floods. We do expect floods to be bigger and more frequent in the future so it is important that we prepare. It is not just people’s houses and businesses that will be affected in a big flood: notice that both Caversham and Reading bridges could be affected, which would have knock-on affects for many people trying to live and work in the town.