In my experience, flood risk management is a jigsaw of many pieces, all working together on reducing flood risk (such as flood warnings, municipal flood alleviation schemes, natural flood defences, temporary barriers, sustainable drainage, etc.). In the last few years, due to intense and prolonged rainfall, we have seen robust defences over-topped and breached. What can we do at a property level to reduce the appalling impact that being flooded brings with it?
I have been flooded myself, so I know only too well just how awful it is and how long it takes to get back to ‘normal’ again. We can, of course, think about using property flood resilience products (PFR) to try to keep the water out and help to give extra time to move precious belongings to a place of safety. I know people worry about labelling their home at risk of flooding, but that doesn’t have to be the case. ‘Flood doors’ look just like a normal doors but once locked can withstand flood water to about 6m. Airbricks can be replaced with a ‘self-closing’ variety which can stop an awful lot of water entering into a home. Non return valves fitted into drains can stop sewage entering homes via toilets, showers etc. Always look for products with a kitemark, as they have been through a robust testing procedure. There is more information about risk reduction products here.
The average amount of time it takes to repair a property is about 9 months, and that causes terrible disruption to life as we know it.
If you are flooded, work with your insurance provider to ‘build back better’. By this I mean adapting your home/business to help it to recover more quickly, should you flood again. The average amount of time it takes to repair a property is about 9 months, and that causes terrible disruption to life as we know it. Moving electric sockets and services up the wall, using waterproof plaster, tiling floors and fitting a flood resilient kitchen (which doesn’t have to cost much more, or look ugly) can help reduce the damage a flood does and speed up the time it takes to recover, allowing you to get back home sooner. Over the past year, I have travelled around the country and talked to people who have taken steps to both try to keep the water out and also made adaptations to reduce the impact. Do have a read of their stories and see how beautiful their homes and businesses look.
In 2017, I project managed the retrofitting of two properties, a community centre and a private home, to help them to recover more quickly if they flood again. The details of the project can be seen here. Again, you will see how beautiful the properties looked, once the work had finished. The EMag also details the products used.
Protecting our homes from burglary and fire has become the norm. My hope is that reducing flood risk, at a property level, is treated in the same way.
With the threat that climate change brings, sadly flooding is going to become more frequent and more damaging. It is impossible to stop floods from happening, but we can do our best to manage flood risk. Protecting our homes from burglary and fire has become the norm. My hope is that reducing flood risk, at a property level, is treated in the same way. It may also lead to reductions in the price we pay for flood insurance, as well as peace of mind. Working in partnership, we can reduce the awful misery being flooded brings.
By Mary Dhonau
Biography: Mary has been flooded on many occasions and has extensive experience in supporting and advising the victims of flooding during their recovery. She has championed the promotion of Property Flood Resilience and is a passionate advocate for communities working in partnership with those who manage flood risk, to help minimise the disruption flooding brings. Mary was awarded an OBE for Services to the Environment in 2009.