The real reason for flooding in Somerset Levels? Not global warming – river management

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A sign on a bridge over the River Parrett at Burrowbridge, Somerset. Martin Hesp says it is vital that rivers in the area are dredged after years of neglect that has seen capacity tumble Picture: SWNS

UPDATE: Satellite images added.

UPDATE2: Upon further inspection of satellite images and flood maps I’ve concluded that while what this commenter had to say about the history is indeed true, the impact in this situation is not particularly relevant. I was going on the idea that all of the flood control channels in Somerset levels were interconnected, so that there would be multiple paths of egress (directable by small dams). It turns out they are not, and the Huntspill sluice, even if full open, wouldn’t have drained any water where it was most needed. The real issue has to do with the lack of flow capacity in the Kings Sedgemoor Drain, (gravity drain, not pumped) due to silting and vegetation encroachment, as well as similar issues in the River Parrett where a campaign was launched in 2013 to get it dredged, to no avail. Thus I’ve changed the top photo and the title to reflect this new information about lack of management, putting wildlife over people.  – Anthony

UPDATE3/4: This before and after photo shows the problem of silting restricting the flow on the River Parrett (originally only two photos, now 3 together which tells the story better.

somerset-bridge_2825383b

Composite image of the River Parrett in Burrowbridge in the early 1960′s (top left) when dredging was carried out on a regular basis, a recent picture before the current flooding event showing the encroaching river banks (bottom left) and during the recent flooding Photo: SWNS

h/t to Richard North at EU Referendum for the original two on the left, with thanks to WUWT commenters ‘Peter’ and ‘Jones’ and ‘Jabba the Cat’

This article at The Telegraph is the source: How Somerset Levels river flooded after it was not dredged for decades

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We’ve previously covered the absurd claims that “global warming” was the cause of flooding in Somerset, UK here and here, with yesterday, even a senior scientist at the Met Office disagreeing with the spinmistress in charge, Julio Slingo’s claim about an AGW connection. Now we learn the real reason. Lack of management.  The ROF pumping station was turned off in 2008 and nothing was done to replace it, while at the same time the Huntspill sluice gates to drain water to the sea seemed to be improperly managed by the EA.

I’m repeating the comment here to give wide distribution.

Bishop Hill writes: Commenter “Corporal Jones’ Ghost’ left this comment on one of the flooding threads. It looks to be quite important. (see my notes above in update 2, this claim while historically true, is no longer credible as a reason for flooding – Anthony)

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I want to tell you what really has happened on the Somerset Levels.

I am remaining anonymous for good reason, I think you’ll understand why.

You have to go back to 1939, when the MOD decided that they needed a new Munitions factory for HDX explosives, HDX uses a lot of water, all munitions manufacture does, but HDX is greedy. 

The levels had too much water and so we built one on the Levels, ROF37 or ROF Bridgewater or ROF Woolavington, it’s all the same place.

To ensure that there was enough water even on the waterlogged Levels, we built the Huntspill River, we then connected it to the River Brue to the North and the Kings Sedgemoor Drain via a pipe to the South, we also widened the River Sowy to get water to our factory.

We would use >5 thousand million litres every year, rain or shine.

We then disposed of it into the sea, we had to do this regardless of the tidal conditions and we had steam pumps that did this remarkable task, they pumped out at the Huntspill sluice 3 thousand million ltrs a year, the rest was either evaporated, too contaminated and shipped off-site or left the factory in the product!

Part of the legacy f the fall of Communism was that we didn’t need quite so much ordnance to practice killing the deadly foe.

In the mid 1990s the decision was made and we ran down the ROFs.

By 2000 ROF37 was given an execution date of 2008 and like all state executions, it was carried out on time.

We all knew that the ‘run-on’ from our departure would be that the EA/Levels Boards needed to take over pumping, they couldn’t afford our old system as it was very old and on restricted land.

I should explain at this point that the ONLY pumping done was ours, we could and did pump no matter the tides, we’d taken over the responsibility/control in 1940 for all high volume pumping on the Levels.

We advised that the Huntspill be automated and the Kings Sedgemoor Drain be pumped and made strong representation to that effect.

But every meeting with the EA ended in frustration as they never sent a single seriously knowledgeable Drainage Engineer to any meeting. The Levels Boards understood the issues and tried to get the pumps installed.

It didn’t happen.

One of the problems with draining the Levels is silting, we used to pump in such a way as to utilise ‘scour’ of all the rhynes and ditches and pipelines to keep them clear, when we shut down in the 50s due to a slight mishap and explosion on site in just 15 days of reduced use we found the lines lost about 1% of their ‘flow sympathy’ meaning we had to suck about 1% harder to get the same amount of water through the top metering point.

We all hoped that the 2007 flood would wake the EA up and get them to re-think their stance on the KSD pumps, they would not even agree to a meeting! We were pumping furiously on a limited facility in that year or that flood would have been horrific.

Today, looking at the flood charts and pictures it is obvious that the connection to the Huntspill is blocked, silted up.

So the water can’t be ‘smeared’ over all the levels as in the past, that is why ‘record’ levels are being recorded in certain areas whilst others are barely affected.

The poor chap who has built an Island out of his home has my sympathies, he the KSD pumps been in place for the last 6 years he’d not be in the predicament he is in, nor for that matter would most of the others on the levels, the water won’t be going anywhere soon.

This is the reality of the situation, if you wish to check for yourself, you can go to even the Wiki pages and read about it (until they get edited no doubt!) but all that I’ve written is a matter of public record and can be verified elsewhere.

I enclose a single link to the fact that we did our best to convince the EA that the matter was serious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Sedgemoor_Drain

Quote from above…

Floodwater is removed from many of the moors of the Somerset Levels by pumping stations, which were originally steam-powered. These were superseded by diesel engines, and more recently by electric pumps. The King’s Sedgemoor Drain is unusual in that it operates entirely by gravity. Consideration was given to replacing Dunball clyse with a pumping station in 2002, which would have allowed water to be discharged into the estuary at all states of the tide, but this course of action was not followed. Management of the Drain is the responsibility of the Environment Agency, whereas the numerous rhynes or drainage ditches which feed into the Drain are the responsibility of several Internal Drainage Boards, who work together as the Parrett Consortium of Drainage Boards.[19]

The reference point… ^ The Parrett Catchment Water Management Strategy Action Plan. Environment Agency. 2002. ISBN 1-85705-788-0. Retrieved 16 November 2010.

I thought someone ought to know the real truth behind this fiasco.

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Also in the reference in Wikipedia is this story which backs up the commenter’s claim:

As part of the war effort, an explosives factory, ROF Bridgwater, was built at Puriton. The Catchment Board needed to be able to guarantee that 4.5 million gallons (20.5 Megalitres) of process water would be available to the factory every day. To this end, the Huntspill River was constructed, a little further to the north, which was essentially a revival of a plan by J. Aubrey Clark in 1853, to provide better drainage for the Brue valley. King’s Sedgemoor drain was deemed to be a backup source for water, should the Huntspill scheme fail, and so all of the work which had been planned before the war started was completed, to ensure that the volume of water needed was always available.[14] Greylake sluice was built by the Somerset Rivers Catchment Board in 1942, and used guillotine gates to control water levels. The original plaque commemorating its completion was incorporated into the new structure when the sluice was rebuilt in 2006.[15]

To help readers visualize, here is a couple of map items from Google Earth that I annotated. First, the ROF37 munitions factory, Huntspill River, the Huntspill Sluice (gates) and their proximity to the town of Bridgwater:

Hunstspil_ROF_map

It looks like they keep the Huntspill River artificially high, even in good weather. The voles must be happy:

Hunstspill_sluice

It seems the writing was on the wall in January 2014, as shown in this video:

Here are some photos from that same day:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/117694223@N04/sets/72157641034326485/

But no, it MUST be AGW because water mismanagement by the Environmental Authority is out of the question.

Of course, this EA map says otherwise, click to enlarge:

EA_Map

This is from a policy document from 2008 which referred to the possibility – so-called option 6 – of allowing parts of the Levels to flood:

Policy Unit 8- Somerset Levels and Moors

Policy option 6 – Take action to increase the frequency of flooding to deliver benefits locally or elsewhere, which may constitute an overall flood risk reduction.

Note: This policy option involves a strategic increase in flooding in allocated areas, but is not intended to affect the risk to individual properties.

http://www.tauntondeane.gov.uk/irj/go/km/docs/CouncilDocuments/TDBC/Documents/Forward%20Planning/Evidence%20Base/Parret%20Catchment%20Flood%20Management%20Plan.pdf

UPDATE:

Satellite image from Feb 8th, click to enlarge:

Somerset_sat_image_article

Same area seen today from MODIS, the brown floodwaters are obvious, though reduced:

MODIS_Somerset1

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276 thoughts on “The real reason for flooding in Somerset Levels? Not global warming – river management

  1. We need pictures of the Kings Sedgemoor Drain, as this is the one the EA failed to maintain and which drains the areas affected by flooding. The Huntspill Drain has protected the nirthern moors south of Glastonbury from the floods experienced further south.

  2. Someone in local-central government must have had the foresight to see the benefit of flooding to the global warming war effort, thus obstructed every effort to maintain the flood pumps. Somewhere in Whitehall are some wide smiles.

  3. What follows is a long interview with Richard North on how EU directives since 2000 have dictated the current Environment Agency (EA) policy of allowing the Somerset Levels to flood.

    The contention is that the EA have treated the Levels as if it is a flood plain, when in fact it is a managed region that does not drain naturally and so requires regular pumping, particularly in winter.

  4. Well, this is proof, if proof were needed, that the EA is run by a bunch of incompetents. No amount of dredging would be of any use with that sluice in that position. Opened wide it might clear the flood water in a week or so not the months mentioned.
    The Levels need a LOCAL flood board not a bunch of poets running things.

  5. This is yet another in a long, long line of examples of governments that screw things up on purpose or through ignorance and then blame it on someone or something else. But to beat all, the government will then tell you that you need to cede even more money and freedom to them to “fix” the problem they created.

    Did CO2 do this? Well consider: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” ~ H. L. Mencken

  6. The key to the malaise at the heart if the EA can be found in this plan. The principles they expound are detailed in Table 5.1.1.1 on Page 113

    1) Improve physical and mental well being
    2) Be resource wise We need to challenge policies and activities that
    use resources inefficiently or unnecessarily
    3) Support thriving low carbon economies
    4) Enhance local distinctiveness & diversity including
    biodiversity
    5) Take a long term approach
    6) Help everybody to join in public decision making
    7) Improve equality in meeting basic needs
    8) Use local and ethical goods and services
    9) Develop sustainability learning and skills
    10) Reduce high carbon travel

    Nowhere does protect people, their property and the economy get a look in.

    Keith

  7. Tallbloke’s Talkshop should be credited for first posting this essay.
    Nothing is ever so bad that the intervention of government cannot make worse.

    REPLY: Didn’t know he had it. Ever since he started madly and irrationally dissing WUWT and me for taking a stance on the integrity issues around the pal review journal of his, I’ve stopped reading his blog. Willis once predicted he’d be all alone talking to himself; it seems to have started. – Anthony

  8. I would not be surprised if this story were true.

    Someone needs to send some FOIs to the EA about the meetings that took place in the run up to the closure and beypnd (say 2003 to 2010), to see to what extent the EA were forewarned and to what extent they failed to do anything about alieviating fioreseeable future flooding problems.

  9. If this was done out of neglect or even on purpose, someone must be personally responsible for the floodings and may be liable to legal claims for the resulting damage.

    I see a MASSIVE class-action lawsuit in the making here. Pro-bono lawyers galore!

  10. Class action is the only way. £100.00 from every FLAG member will give a £1,000,000.00 (Million pounds) fighting fund. All that is then needed is a law firm brave enought to take the government on.

  11. I am sure if the Huntspill sluice were opened wide, some rare kind of fresh water sponges or something would have suffered. Therefore it is completely justified to keep it closed in torrential rains. Water is a precious resource, after all.

    “The effects of climate change are likely to make it become more precious in future. It is important that we use as little water as possible in performing our role in order to conserve this precious resource.”

    And conserve they did it in performing their role, wisely, right on the Levels. What’s not to like?

    It must be a warm, reassuring feeling to have your living room full of a precious resource instead of turbid floodwater, while generously expanding the habitat of endangered sponges to the inside of your TV set.

  12. I would confirm that ROF Bridgewater used to control the levels as a part of self interfestred service to the communbity. I would also confirm that EA is as bad as one’s worst nightmare.

  13. mogamboguru says:
    February 16, 2014 at 4:07 am

    I see a MASSIVE class-action lawsuit in the making here. Pro-bono lawyers galore!

    I rather doubt it. Would someone conversant in British law please comment? I assume that as in the US the government is soverign (cannot be sued), and that umbrella of soverignty covers ministries, boards, etc., ? In other words, the EA is forgiven in advance for all their sins — for what they have done and for what they have failed to do (at least with respect to the civil courts to which ordinary citizens have access).

    This sounds like a battle Lord Monckton would love to join.

  14. On 29 August 2005 there were over 50 failures of the levees and flood walls protecting New Orleans, Louisiana, and its suburbs following passage of Hurricane Katrina and landfall in Mississippi [ ... ] Five investigations (three major and two minor) were conducted by civil engineers and other experts, in an attempt to identify the underlying reasons for the failure of the federal flood protection system. All concur that the primary cause of the flooding was inadequate design and construction by the Corps of Engineers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_levee_failures_in_Greater_New_Orleans

    We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

  15. “The key to the malaise at the heart if the EA can be found in this plan. The principles they expound are detailed in Table 5.1.1.1 on Page 113″

    Ie. Agenda 21

  16. Those sluice gates, or whatever their called, don’t look inundated to me and lifting them higher wouldn’t make any difference at the rate of flow shown, so what does this video prove?

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions about my motivation for asking please bear in mind that I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop a mob lynching almost all of our political class and all those involved in the Environment Agency along with all the klimate-change activists infesting the body politic. If they decided to torture them first it would not upset me. OK?

    So here’s my point: are we ‘denialists’ (rabid, in my case) shooting ourselves in the foot here?

    I ask because on the face of it this seems as dumbarse to me as the shit one gets from the ecotards and almost as bad as UKIP for missing open goals and scoring glorious own goals instead (see wossername on Question Time supporting that alien slug, keith vaz). Doh!

    • John Archer wrote:

      Those sluice gates, or whatever their called, don’t look inundated to me and lifting them higher wouldn’t make any difference at the rate of flow shown, so what does this video prove?

      The sluice is the bit on the near side that should be lowered to let more water out. Only ONE side of the sluice has been lowered to allow water to flow OVER it. The one on the left hand side as we view it, by the look of it, may not even be functional now.

      • My mistake – these sluice gates look like they can be raised or lowered. Looking at the video again it is not clear if the position of the left hand gate allows a lot of water UNDER it – the water flow is difficult to see. Either way the position of the gates, with water backed up behind, is not right when there is impending flooding upstream.

      • Actually, it is clear from the photos linked to from below the video, that there is water flowing though both the L and R gates.

        John Archer – Raising and lowering could be done by a ratchet mechanism on the side walls beside each sluice gate, although that’s not obvious in the photos. The cable apparently spending the right hand gate might be part of a windup/down mechanism on that side. Is that new? Does that mean that side has been repaired/upgraded but the left hand side not? is the Left hand side working?

  17. Our American cousins will need a little elucidation.

    The commentator’s handle ‘Corporal Jones’ Ghost’ refers to a well-known British TV series. Called ‘Dad’s Army’, it was a sit-com based around the British ‘Home Guard’ militia (initially ‘Local Defence Volunteers’), set up to resist a possible German invasion in 1940. Staffed with elderly and other ‘ineligible for military service’ volunteers, it was a bit of a joke at the best of times, but the series exaggerates their ineptitude to the point where it becomes difficult to sit on a sofa for laughing…

    The Corporal Jones character was an elderly shopkeeper who had fought with Kitchener at Khartoum, and who, when faced with any emergency, would run around in small circles shouting ‘Don’t Panic!’. Which accurately mirrors the current response of the UK authorities…

  18. “So here’s my point: are we ‘denialists’ (rabid, in my case) shooting ourselves in the foot here?”

    No. It is obvious on its face that the drainage system of the area is poorly maintained and inadequate for predictable situations. It is the same thing as we saw with the criminal neglect of the levy system in New Orleans in the U.S. except that the New Orleans situation was much worse for the residents. But the reasons are the same — criminal neglect by the government agencies responsible for maintaining the system.

  19. @markstoval,

    Thanks. “It is obvious on its face that….”

    Fine. But what does the video prove. On its face, nothing as far as I can tell. My question stands.

  20. There was a long traffic jam on the M4, and a driver called out to a policeman who was walking from car to car: “What’s happening?”

    “Well,sir, there’s a group of farmers further up the road who’ve taken Lord Smith (Head of the EA) hostage. They say that they’ll set fire to him and his entourage unless they get immediate cash compensation now. So we’re going from car to car asking for contributions…”

    “Good Lord! How much do you want?”

    “That’s very kind, sir. A couple of pints of petrol will be fine…”

  21. Dodgy Geezer, :)

    I hope such things come to pass. I have my fingers crossed. We’ll need petrol by the tanker load then.

  22. @ John Archer
    I think you misunderstood the situation. The sluices are closed. The water is running over the top of the closed gates – on the land side. Thats why he keeps talking about the ray of light one can see below the water level (on the sea side). His estimate was 2 – 3 meters.

  23. John Archer says:
    February 16, 2014 at 5:05 am

    ===============

    You make a good point with regards to the sluice gate opening at the flow shown. That opening would simply allow for metering the flow, not restricting it.

  24. No. It is obvious on its face that the drainage system of the area is poorly maintained and inadequate for predictable situations. It is the same thing as we saw with the criminal neglect of the levy system in New Orleans in the U.S. except that the New Orleans situation was much worse for the residents. But the reasons are the same — criminal neglect by the government agencies responsible for maintaining the system.

    One should realize why that disastrous flood engulfed New Orleans. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wanted to raise the levies etc for a long time, said so, warned what might happen if they did not, tried to start work, and were sued by environmental agencies (one of which was The Sierra Club) each and every time, and then stopped by a judge. This happened so many times that eventually they just gave up trying. The result, massive flooding, huge damages, hundreds dead.

    The environmentalists who did this should not only have to pay the entire cost of the repairs (billions, I believe), but many of them should be brought up on charges of murder and terrorism and then executed. If I were in a position to do so, I would announce this while behind me scrolled the list of the many many court cases that stopped the engineers, with the name of the environmental agencies(s) that brought it highlighted.

    While we are at it, the environmentalists have also rammed through a new policy for rivers and dams everywhere (those they have not entirely destroyed, as they destroyed about 925 significant dams in the western U.S. states prior to the current drought), which is to save extra water behind dams and then release it in a “spring pulse” to mimic the natural flow of the river, exactly what the dam was built to stop. Result, any winter or spring that has extra rainfall results in a great danger of flooding since the water behind the dam is already so much that it cannot hold more and must be released. How much damage has already been done, and how many have died? And why has this been completely concealed from the people by a complicit press? And why have those guilty of this, and those who aided and abetted them, not been executed?

    This is no longer a minor policy disagreement between environmentalists and everyone else, the environmentalists have repeated exclaimed their motives, that people are the enemy and they are the cure (thus establishing motive, malice, for legal purposes). This is war. What you need to understand about war, “war does not determine who is right, war determines who is left”.

  25. I live on the Somerset Levels – though often away, as now, on ecological research projects. As many of you know, I am a climate skeptic – though not a denialist, reckoning, after three years intensive research and publication of a book, that current warming/hiatus/future possible cooling, is 75-80% natural, the rest due to GHGs, most likely. I am also a conservationist, also with publications and a long history of environmentalist activism – all the way up to UN level, mostly on ocean and atmospheric pollution issues. I am also a ‘green’, leftish, liberal, loving kind-of-guy, though I find it hard to recognise the current ‘greens’ as remotely like the people and the philosophies that birthed the movement. I also have some experience as an advisor and consultant to UK government agencies, including the EA/Countryside Agency and specifically on water issues, landscape, biodiversity, human settlements and energy strategies.

    That said, here is my viewpoint and some of the advice I have given directly to the agencies:

    * first and foremost, there is a big debate in the UK about the decline in wildlife – at the most basic level of common birds, flower meadows, hedgerows, ancient woodland, fens, heaths and old pasture – we are a small country, intensively farmed, with much farming now a long way from the traditional small family farm – indeed, it is industrial/business/intensive farming that has denuded the countryside, not just of wildlife, but also people and community;
    * the Somerset Levels were once famous for their wetland wildlife and quiet rural communities- but the pressures have been growing. The last 60 years has seen all of that ruined by intensive drainage for poor agricultural returns. Good funding exists to balance the water levels and the wildlife interest with farming – but the farmer’s union is antipathetic to anything that is not business – it displays a disregard for the public interest, and aversion to regulation, and has a very poor take up of the public funds available to make farming more environmentally friendly (water levels, pollution control, organic production with higher labour inputs and more people on the land, and greater diversity of widllife); the levels have lost many of their iconic species, but the conservation organisations have been purchasing remaining habitat, old peat working, restoring reed-beds, and cooperating on landscape-scale management – recently, the crane has been re-introduced, the otter has returned, and new species have nested (great white egret, little bittern).
    * Much of the levels is below sea-level and hence has required pumping for a long time – and many drainage channels have their beds as much as a metre, sometimes two, above the surrounding agricultural land, as well as the wildlife habitat…..BOTH of these land uses now rely on pumping systems to maintain them – virtually all the northern levels area wildlife interest (reedbeds and alder carr) would be lost to a large lake if the pumping ceased entirely; in Medieval times, the area was lake and swamp, with Glastonbury a virtual island in winter (the fabled Avalon!) – it was drained by walling off at the estuary, digging ditches and pumping (by Dutch engineers);
    * The EA is responding thus to several public interests – farming is just one, and most conservationists would say they lean more to the farmers though they try hard to balance the interests. Dredging is a red-herring, because a) it does not work when flood levels are extreme, and is damaging to wildlife; b) flooding large areas of farmland is a management option to protect settlements nearer the coast, and is also beneficial to wildlife; c) there are high cost implications for the protection of settlements – and the EA has spent a great deal of money on protection in the recent past- near Boroughbridge for example; but now all agencies have had 30% cuts in both funding and staffing levels – Britain is now a ‘poor’ country, virtually bankrupt as far as government funding is concerned!
    * So – you get conflicting views – the farmers want compensation and cry foul (over dredging, which is irrelevant) and government ministers promise to dredge (sending scarce public funds into the hands of local contractors – guess who?). Richard North favours the farming community (he was once an environmentalist, but turned many years ago); George Monbiot favours better management of the floodplain regime – letting it flood more and adapting to that, and also planting forests upstream (not very practical as the rivers drain high-quality grain growing regions) but of course, is very ignorant on the causes of climate change.
    * And on top of this, the weather/climate change is significant….I know because I have helped organise festivals on the levels for over fifteen years…and we had to move to higher ground in 2009, having had one festival flooded out by torrential rain – the site two feet deep in water, with two thousand campers flooded, and three thousand waiting in the night-rain to get on site (they all had to go home and the organisation was bankrupted….though resurrected, you will all be appalled to hear, by the Daily Mail’s extremely successful online astrologer); the shift is caused as many of you know, by the southward kinky jetstream, mostly likely driven off its ‘normal’ course by the low UV status of the Sun (read Drew Shindell, before J Hansen moved him off the Maunder Minimum and jetstream tracking to shoring up Standard Theory); thus the ‘atmospheric rivers’ come right in on a loopy track from the south-west and dump their load – that loop has been stuck now (like its equivalent ‘polar vortex’ in the USA) for about six weeks;
    * my advice in 2003 to the EA and other agencies was….climate change can go up or down in temperature of rainfall in the UK, whatever the driver; so we need to adapt and take no-regrets strategies that also integrate with other sustainability objectives – like wildlife, landscape protection and vibrant rural communities – so: turbines are a complete waste of money and very damaging; as is biofuel; better to go for managed coastal retreat rather than trying to protect every last bit of farmland, stop building on floodplains, allow rivers to meander, support organic farming standards and extensive production, not intensive, in wildlife sensitive areas; in 2008 I told the MetOffice to expect a return of cold winters and wetter not drier summers – they didn’t listen, but they did set up a study team on the jetstream (they had no one working on it in 2008!) – and they actually do now know what is going on, but as we know, they can’t say it aloud! They have secret papers modelling the coming solar sulk and guess what? They show no warming for the next two decades! But of course, once old Sol shrugs off the depression, AGW will fry the UK – and dry out the sodden turf once more!

  26. Dodgy Geezer says:
    February 16, 2014 at 5:35 am
    ______________________
    You get the thread Gold Star next to your name, and such a young thread, too.

  27. I stand to be wrong in my comment above @ February 16, 2014 at 5:54 am

    After reviewing the video again and a little more closely it appears that the gate actually restricting the flow through the structure does in fact seem to rise from below the surface of the water. The second gate in series to the direction of flow that could be raised upward is not restricting the flow at the time the video was made.

  28. How far was the sluice outlet away from the incoming tides which were high. Could it be possibly the gates were protecting from the sea ?

  29. As much as I’d love to believe this story, yes it has been closed and unworking since 2008, but simple fact of the matter, Somerset Levels….. Levels meaning flat, Somerset… Definition, at the setting of Summer the land too sets. Hence the name. Before the embankments and gulleys and channels were dug hundred and hundreds of years ago by farmers, monks and suchlike, the land of Somerset was underwater most of the year until Summer!
    Hence why Glastonbury is known as the Isle of Avalon, maybe because it used to be an island?
    Water levels During Roman times were known to be higher than that of today, hence why there are remnants of a Roman Port in Glastonbury….. Now maybe we should just think for one second…. This “phenomena” cannot be blamed on fellow humans, in the world of Jeremy Clarkson “Is it not that we have had quite a lot of rainfall?”. Well yes Jezza, we bloody well have!
    As much as we’d love to control mother nature, the simple fact of most of the rivers in the levels are tidal anyway, and most sit with 15-20ft high embankments running along the side of them through the lands…. Maybe its just a simple case of land below sea level is generally going to flood?? Maybe its also a case of we cannot control nature?

    If the prediction of “the coldest winter” had been true, we would have snow drifts up to our eyeballs, rooflines, and higher with snowfall, in some places well over 20ft, an we would have still complained about that. We are a nation of complainers who always want to blame someone else…. Sometimes we have to realise that there was nothing we could have done! I have lived on the levels, near the levels and have been Somerset Born and Bred all my life, so before anyone tries to say you don’t know what its like…. My travelling to school (back in the day) has been hindered many times by floods along the levels, I have waded waist deep in water through a friends home trying to save what we could, and helped fill sand bags and try to help rebuild what was once there, but, at the end of the day, if the water wants to go where the water is meant to go…. there’s nothing we can do about it!

  30. Legatus -

    Thanks for that detail. As I was reading the earlier comment about the Army Corps of Engineers i was thinking, hang on, they didn’t do it wrong… and now it’s out there what actually happened.

    And, not wanting to draw attention too much to my local situation, we did have a flood in Southern Alberta in June 2013. As usual, people were screaming “climate change” for the cause,. But also as usual, they could hardly be more wrong. Higher flood levels have been seen here before. The city and province had been warned many times over the years by independent assessors and companies that the flood damage dangers were increasing and action needed to be taken.

    If that action had been taken most Albertans would never have even been aware of flooding. The rivers needed to be dredged, berms built between the rivers and neighborhoods that have historically flooded on a regular basis, and neighborhoods being built were in dangerous locations. Our Olympic Saddledome, built for the 88 Winter Olympics and used by the Calgary Flames, was the subject of bitter criticism for being built right next to a river that floods, and only a few feet above river level. In fact, while building the bridge that washed away on our most major downtown road many years back, the construction site was flooded and half washed away. The response was to simply build it again, ignoring the flooding that year as a unique aberration.

    I have yet to see any truly unusual flooding during my lifetime. Nothing has happened here or anywhere that was either unprecedented or the result of truly bad planning. I doubt this will change.

    Maybe what we’re fighting isn’t some sort of climate change, but instead a complete lack of logic and foresight in the general population.

  31. Friends:

    The important fact seems to have been lost in this thread.

    The Somerset Levels were allowed to flood as a deliberate policy because the evil ideology of ‘environmentalism’ placed a higher priority on a bird sanctuary than on the lives and homes of hundreds of families.

    I have repeatedly posted the following on various threads of WUWT over recent weeks.

    The Somerset Levels are man-made land which will return to being swamp if the drainage system and pumping systems are not maintained. The pumping was reduced and dredging of the rivers was stopped. The result was inevitable. Some properties were flooded last year and everyone on the levels was begging for the needed dredging to be resumed or they would be flooded this year. Their desperate pleas were rejected and they have all been flooded this year.

    The unprecedented flooding of the Thames results from a similar policy decision but in that case a higher priority was given to rich residential areas than middle class residential areas.

    Four new channels were scheduled to convey water to the sea. One was completed and the funding for the other three was then removed. So, water which in the past provided minor and historically frequent flooding of Windsor is now transported downstream and is added to what used to be minor and historically frequent flooding but is now a disaster.

    Cameron promised the Tories would provide the most ‘green’ government the UK has ever had. It is the only election promise he has fulfilled.

    Richard

  32. This article goes to my top list of stuff to be shown to alarmists during discussions of extreme weather events. Thanks!

  33. Slightly off topic, but does anybody know how our wind turbines fared over the last few months or how much electricity they been producing?

  34. richardscourtney says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:34 am

    ———————————————————————

    The list of “green” failures reads like a litany of vast incompetence in the most charitable interpretation — a fraud of staggering proportions to those of us who are more realistically disposed..

  35. What it probably needs is someone to go to the Huntspill River/Sluice at low tide today and see how much water is being let out now during low tide.

    If those sluices are not wide open, both of them on both sides (i.e. all four) and the water is not pouring out as fast as it can possibly do then there is definitely some serious questions to be asked.

  36. Peter Taylor says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Much as I like birds & otters, none of the species you mention is endangered in the least in Europe or the world, if previously absent for some time from the Levels. Why then should animals in plentiful supply elsewhere be preferred to people there?

    How much of Britain should return to its Medieval sogginess in the interest of wildlife, IYO? The formerly submerged fens of East Anglia are England’s breadbasket. Consider too that in a state of humanless nature, southern Britain would be even lower isostatically now than during the high sea level conditions of the Roman & Medieval Warm Periods.

    Was your festival on the summer solstice?

    If the supposed 0.7 degrees C increase in GAST since 1850, 1900 or whenever be 20 to 25% due to increased GHGs from human activities, that’s 0.14 to 0.18 degrees C, or within margin of error, hence meaninglessly statistically insignificant. I must assume then that you’re being sarcastic in predicting frying from renewed global warming after the possible or probable coming period of cooling.

    The warming IMO is largely Mann-made, as in fabricated out of thin air by scheming climastrologist scientivist scammers & their government paymasters.

  37. PS: As a bird-lover, I applaud your opposition to wind turbines. How about draining the Levels but stopping the windmills, for a huge net plus for bird populations?

  38. So the local people could not be hoodwinked by the AGW excuse, they have always blamed the EA for not doing their job. Now here is some more insight, quite shocking really. This is the problem when you get co2 on the brain, it allows governments and agencies to be less vigilant and blame……………………..global warming. The people of Somerset Levels are paying the price.

    The Spectator – 8 February 2014
    From the moment the Environment Agency took over, however, it began to neglect its responsibility for keeping those rivers clear. From 2000 onwards, under the leadership of a Labour peeress, Baroness Young of Old Scone, this reluctance to dredge and to maintain the pumping stations became a deliberate ideology, designed to give priority to the interests of ‘habitat’ and ‘biodiversity’ over those of protecting the Levels as farmland. Lady Young is famously said to have remarked that she wanted to see ‘a limpet mine attached to every pumping station’.

    The undredged rivers gradually become clogged with silt, drastically reducing their ability to take floodwater away. The Somerset farmers and engineers who run the local ‘drainage boards’, responsible for cleaning the ditches or ‘rhynes’, also found that the Environment Agency was forever on their backs, imposing every kind of restriction on what needed to be done; such as how they could dispose of the resulting silt and vegetation, now classified as rigorously ‘controlled waste’.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-week/leading-article/9131442/floods-of-incompetence/

  39. Again, how this is all handled by the Dutch – who helped drain the levels in the first place.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/16/flooding-netherlands

    “He shows the path down to the field that his cows take when they feel in the mood. “Six metres, up here in our castle on the hill! Now let the water come. I would like very much to see that in my lifetime. We have done this for the next generation but I would very much like to see if it works. I would like the taxpayers to see that it works. Let the floods come.

  40. Bridgewater 2011 census population of 35,886.

    If that water is staying put, there is going to be a lot of unheppy campers.

    No wonder every man, woman and their dog is blaming what hasn’t caused it.

    Maybe the MOD will have a go next?

  41. Peter Taylor – I have to volunteer that I had a hand in promoting this issue and whilst I have some sympathy with the objectives you outline – it’s my perception that this whole matter has been pitifully managed by the EA and the amount of hubris on display simply beggars belief.

    It’s my understanding that the EA have been exceedingly high handed with the drainage boards, seeming regarding the matter as a power struggle and the maneuvering and fibbing has been epic see Baron Smiff’s comments today in the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

    “I think we could and should have worked harder to persuade partner organisations in Somerset to undertake some of the longer term work that’s needed down there which we were wanting to start last year but we weren’t able to get the other bits of money that we needed on to the table.”

    – which is going to impress folk in Somerset – that’ll have them ROFLing if quoted at the next drainage board meeting eh? Get my own bit in here – when the EA spends £1.5m cheating and legally duffing up two builders over a £150 abstraction licence just up the road in Wiltshire.

    The EA couldn’t / wouldn’t send a proper drainage engineer to a clearly critical meeting back in 2007 and the evidence seems to be that they still don’t “get it”

  42. Here is the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, from the Department for Communities and Local Government a week ago.

    Guardian – 9 February 2014
    Pickles said: “I don’t think it was a question of money in the Somerset Levels. It was policy and it was a policy not to dredge and the more we know about it the more we know it was a wrong-headed decision. It’s now accepted even by the Environment Agency that was a mistake and we made a grave error.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/09/eric-pickles-apologises-floods-environment-agency-somerset

    ‘Climate change’ had nothing to do with it after all.

  43. Much has been made of the EU’s malign influence on the EA in the matter of Somerset and Richard North + Christopher Booker deserve considerable kudos for their research.

    Where there are laws it’s finally down to the enforcer who they “nick” for misdeeds – and as I think it’s clear when you look at variations in the enforcement / implementation of EU-ness across the member states – which laws you actually enforce at all….

    For all the EU regulation – I don’t see 4mm intake screens on the present hire fleet of PANIC! pumps – they don’t exactly look “eel friendly” (unless you like eel pâté) and I don’t see hundreds of Hi-viz-ed hardhatted,newly ex-students wading around with hand nets rescuing minnows, given the power of the pumps and groundworks required – where’s all the spoil going? are the emergency pumps compliant with water abstraction regulations? Have all the requisite regulations had every T crossed an i dotted? – the regulations being flouted now – will they be prosecuting / fining themselves? Corporal Jones indeed!

    The ROF pumps would not stop every inundation and Paul Homewood has turned up much archival evidence for this – they would and did I suspect – reduce the frequency and severity of flood events and for that I believe it’s reasonable to claim that the EA should have put somebody competent in charge and made provision to pump past the shut-down of ROF 37.

    I mean… it’s not like they can claim pumping isn’t required now is it?

  44. Sluice gates pass water beneath the gate. If water is passing over the gate, as shown in the video, it has flooded. If the water level behind the gate is higher than desired, the gate should be raised to let more water pass under the gate.

  45. Here is a bit more insight. This really is terrible and the local people surely have a legal case to sue for damages.

    Christopher Booker – 15 February 2014
    Revealed: how green ideology turned a deluge into a flood
    Somerset saw the floods coming. The Environment Agency should have, too.

    …..Because I live in Somerset, I first became aware that something very disturbing was going on back around the new year. …..

    …..But all this got markedly worse after 2002 when the Baroness Young of Old Scone, a Labour peeress, became the agency’s new chief executive. Dredging virtually ceased altogether. The rivers began dangerously to silt up. The Baroness, who had previously run the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England, talked obsessively about the need to promote the interests of wildlife. She was famously heard to say that she wanted to see ‘a limpet mine put on every pumping station’. The experts I was talking to had no doubt that this apparent wish to put the cause of nature over that of keeping the Levels properly drained was eventually going to create precisely the kind of disaster we are seeing today. Their message as to what needs to be done couldn’t have been clearer…..

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9137131/instant-wildlife-just-add-water/

    EU Referendum

    http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84705

  46. The sluice in that vid is completely open. The problem is that the sluice isn’t big enough. The rest of the story is baloney. Sorry folks.

  47. Thank you, DodgyGeezer, for the marvellous petrol story! It made my day. Too bad the brass-necked butt of the tale won’t get the message, take down his tent and bugger off!

  48. Jimbo says:
    February 16, 2014 at 8:18 am

    UKIP ought to do better in next elections in Zomerzet. Indeed, Wessex & Cornwall might wish to form common cause with Plaid Cymru & the SNP.

  49. Another angle and probable support for Corporal Jones’ story can be found in the Spectator

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9137131/instant-wildlife-just-add-water/

    interesting quote:-
    “This was just what Lady Young was looking for. She had already been giving lectures and evidence to a House of Lords committee on the EU’s earlier Water Framework directive, proclaiming that one of her agency’s top priorities should be to create more ‘habitats’ for wildlife by allowing wetlands to revert to nature. As she explained in an interview in 2008, creating new nature reserves can be very expensive. By far the cheapest way was simply to allow nature to take its course, by halting the drainage of wetlands such as the Somerset Levels. The recipe she proudly gave in her lectures, repeated to that Lords committee, was: for ‘instant wildlife, just add water’.”

  50. Father Dougal McGuire says:
    February 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

    So much cheaper than condemning the land & paying the farmers some pittance to which they have no appeal.

    Does Cambridge have so much pull in London that the Fens won’t be similarly flooded? Not to mention Boston, Spalding & other East Anglian cities which have so benefited from drainage. Wonder what the University of East Anglia has to say on the regime’s preference for wildlife over people.

  51. Maybe off-topic, but still on Medieval wetlands: Dallas Abbott, megatsunami hunter at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, has found evidence that the September 1014 floods that devastated England & the Netherlands were caused by a celestial impact on the Mid-Atlantic ridge.

  52. The knowledge missing here is that government officials at the most are only minimally responsible for these often preventable disasters. In the case for the Murray Darling water project and lack of coming close to its original projections, ask a Australian in the know what happened when Prince Philip came to town with his world wild life fund. Presently, the ongoing disaster of Lake Chad in Africa has a hugely beneficial water project on hold due do to this same green madness. Much of California will not be planted this year due to lack of water infrastructure and a minnow. Do you see a pattern here?
    It has been said that future wars will fought over fresh water and some very powerful people are making it so through environmentalism and a huge climate lie. It is estimated that less than a 100 people own 3.5 billion people and apparently they are culling the herd.

  53. Someone needs to check the facts in this report. For a start they could not have “widened the River Sowy” during WW2 as it was not dug as a relief channel until early 1970s. The Sowy feeds into the KSD NOT the Huntspill and so coud not be used to feed the munitions factory at Puriton. Nor would it have made a difference to the in Moorland which is the wrong side of the Parrett to be affected by anyting in the KSD and Huntspil. Pumping from Northmoor and Moorland is directly into the PArrett downstream of the Sowy relief channel which then feeds the KSD.

  54. So we have a lack of dredging, EU environmental legislation, and pumps not being used. Yet, the irrationals blame it on what they call ‘anthropogenic global warming’, a term so vague it’s like blaming the rain the actions of a deity.

  55. There seems to be an awful lot of mis-understanding about what sluices are/do. The idea is to release water from low lying areas to the sea by opening as the tide falls and closing as the tide rises. The “gates” at Huntspill were automated to perform this cycle before the erEnvironment Agency abandoned them when they took over apparently leaving the in the “summer” partially open position. Thus, only a partial outflow occurs on the falling tide but it all comes back on the rising tide. Class action against the EA for gross negligence – I should say so.

    Vernon E

  56. The KSD has nothing to do with the bloke that built a moat/embankment around his house. The parrot has been overflowing in to the sowy the whole time the tone is overflowing in to currymoor then in to northmoor and ending up in moorland. The only way he could of been saved was if the sowy gate at Combe had been opened sooner….. People have no idea what’s going on do the research before blaiming people………..

  57. Alex Payne says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:16 am

    ” … at the end of the day, if the water wants to go where the water is meant to go…. there’s nothing we can do about it! ”
    —-l
    The Dutch seem to have had a different philosophical approach to water :)

  58. negrum says:
    February 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

    “The Dutch seem to have had a different philosophical approach to water :)”

    As I said above (my bold)

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/16/flooding-netherlands

    “He shows the path down to the field that his cows take when they feel in the mood. “Six metres, up here in our castle on the hill! Now let the water come. I would like very much to see that in my lifetime. We have done this for the next generation but I would very much like to see if it works. I would like the taxpayers to see that it works. Let the floods come.

  59. Speed says:
    February 16, 2014 at 8:10 am

    “Sluice gates pass water beneath the gate. If water is passing over the gate, as shown in the video, it has flooded. If the water level behind the gate is higher than desired, the gate should be raised to let more water pass under the gate.”

    For a wonderful video on how the French handle just this sort of “how we decided to use the water we have properly” at Mont-Saint-Michel

    visit

    http://www.projetmontsaintmichel.com/les_travaux/barrage.html#132

    scroll down to
    “Eté 2012 En images de synthèse, la réalisation du barrage”

    and click on the link to see how they built the barrage and how it operates (and yes Virginia – the outflow does indeed pass under the sluice).

  60. Would it surprise anyone here that, after extensive digging into government records, memos, etc., that this whole thing was discovered to be some well camouflaged government environmental committee worried sick that some salamander or newt might be sucked through a pump?

  61. Alan Watt: ” I assume that as in the US the government is soverign (cannot be sued), and that umbrella of soverignty covers ministries, boards, etc., ? ”

    This only applies to the Monarch, as the Monarch is dependent upon honest advice, recommendations, policy, and legislation, introduced by Crown Servants, Agents, and Ministers.

    The ‘buck’ absolutely stops with the Crown Servants, Agents, and Ministers, and ‘not being in control of their Departments’ is no excuse (the last Government Minister that had the honour and integrity to voluntarily resign due to the buck stopping at his desk, was Lord Carrington after the invasion of the Falklands) . Offences they are liable for include Malfeasance in Office (the commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal or completely wrongful, and gives rise to, or somehow contributes to, the injury of another person), Misfeasance in Office (not necessarily illegal but the wrongful and injurious exercise of lawful authority), and Nonfeasance in Office (a failure to act that results in injury).

    It would appear that those three apply to quite a number of individuals, including non-British EU citizens, who could rightly be subject to an EU arrest warrant, along with very substantial fines, liabilities, and prison sentences of considerable duration, for them all.

  62. By the way, as America is a Rule of Law Nation (“If the Law makes the King, then the King is subject to the Law”), these principles also apply to your Government.

    If they do not, you are no longer a Rule of Law Nation (and are a “Divine Right” lawless State, where “The Law is what ‘we’ say it is”). The Rule of Law denies power to those that seek it (because nobody can be trusted with it), by sweeping it completely off the table and placing it out of reach (the Rule of Law is literal).

    That is why your representatives in Government are not Law makers (because making Law is the exercising of power), and are legislators sitting in a Legislative Body instead, where all resulting legislation must comply with the Law to be lawful, otherwise it is illegal, and void.

    The final arbiters in whether legislation is lawful or not, are a Jury of our peers. If they find legislation to be not lawful, it becomes ‘Not Law’, and is treated as if it never existed.

    As an aside, all legislation must be thoroughly debated during its passage, so that the intent of the legislators can be determined by the Courts. Otherwise you have the Courts ‘making it up as they go along’ and thinking that they ‘make Law’ (another path to the lawless State).

    So stupidities such us “You have to pass it before you can read it” produces blatantly illegal legislation.

  63. I’ve made an update to reflect new information. See update 2 at top.

    Also, I recall seeing a photo the other day showing silting before and after at a bridge on the river Parret, but can’t find it now. if anyone knows of it, please leave a link.

  64. Rastech:

    Thankyou for your fine posts at February 16, 2014 at 11:01 am and February 16, 2014 at 11:18 am.

    If you have not seen it then I think you will want to read the discussion of the differences between US and UK government systems which is in the latter half of the ‘chicken’ thread

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/05/monckton-challenge-to-prince-charles/

    I was surprised to learn that in practical terms the operation of the two systems is more similar than I had imagined.

    Richard

  65. Peter Taylor says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:00 am

    “I live on the Somerset Levels…”

    This is an interesting, detailed look at the situation, which is good to have if one is interested in what is really going on instead of the inevitable fictions that attend this sort of thing. I accept many of your points just because you come across as a knowledgeable and honest person. I do have to take issue with what has to be too kind an assessment of the EA, even though I have little knowledge of the organization other than having read here “option 6″ and the list of raisons d’etre of the organization (big support of quixotic windmills and solar in a country not well blessed with sunshine and a dimming sun for additional irony).

    I take issue because the environmental wings of every government these days are bound to the CAGW/government policy prescriptions for and the UK is certainly the most extreme of all countries in this regard – there isn’t even an opposition accept for the undoubtedly increasing swell of poor souls, badly served citizenry of the country. In the US, environmentalists essentially doomed New Orleans to disaster with court orders over years to prevent repair and upgrade of the levies that eventually burst (it wasn’t Katrina as the handy cause – just the last straw).

    In your own words: “Britain is now a ‘poor’ country, virtually bankrupt as far as government funding is concerned!” Being an environmental insider as you are, and in the upper levels of the action it seems, I believe you can’t fail to be blind to the chief cause of this bankruptcy (yes there was a foolish financial crisis but these things tend to get mended in the space of a couple of years if governments don’t take on additional ruinous projects) – saving the planet from disaster and even when industry is going offshore and the economy tanking, to redouble the wasteful efforts, shut down cheap reliable energy, and press on with the idiocy. The UK is headed for disaster a heck of a lot quicker than the planet, which will end up being quite fine thank you very much.

    The Germans are already foreclosing on all this green foolishness. They are too pragmatic to martyr themselves and they were doing better than most with “alternative” energy, but they have an earlier threshold for how much damage they are prepared to do to themselves. Ironically, the UK, like the Nile crocodile, is going to be saved in spite of itself by Germany, China, India, Russia, Brazil and even the US, though it is being guided by lemmings, too. Because the US still enjoys freedoms that have survived in the face of a government bent on destroying these, the energy industry is developing enormous supplies of <$5.00/Mcf (million BTUs) that have attracted US companies back home and probably British companies who use these feedstocks and fuels. They are even talking about repatriating the iron and steel industry! In a few years the US will be self sufficient in energy. They are even now shipping hardwood chips from North Carolina by the boatload boatload to the UK to be burned in converted coal-fired electricity plants. How idiotic is this?

  66. Anthony Watts:

    Thankyou for the update you report at February 16, 2014 at 11:23 am.

    I do not have the photos. you want, but I draw your attention to my post above which is here.

    Richard

  67. Alex Payne says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:16 am

    …at the end of the day, if the water wants to go where the water is meant to go…. there’s nothing we can do about it!
    ———————————————-

    Tell that to the Dutch. Or the Canadians or Americans, who made rivers flow uphill in the Rockies, when we were still allowed to do such things. Not to mention the Panama Canal, which carries oceans over mountains.

  68. @BJ
    Sowy relief Channel 1972 – Cpl Jones didn’t AFAICS claim 1939….

    KSD is connected to ROF 37 by pipelene (bunged up yes?) and nobody would dispute ROF 37 connected to Huntspill?

    Didn’t see any assertions about flooding on southern side of the Parrett which is a separate issue (although no doubt troubling for Bridgewater etc)

    The EA have been intriguing around the whole Levels drainage business – and I’ve said before it seems more power and point scoring politics (© Smiffy) than responsible stewardship in honest collaboration with locals.

    I don’t think anybody’s saying pumping would eradicate flooding merely that there’s been egregious neglect, incompetence and high handedness by the EA. All power to the Ops teams trudging around over there – but we are talking middle and senior management here….

  69. I got on to Google Earth to have a look at the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. You can go to the street view as there is a roadway along side the drain.
    I don’t know when the photos were taken by Google, but you can see that with the amount of vegetation growth in the drain, the “drain” won’t drain much flood water !

    Whoever ignored this overgrowth, is a fool.

  70. Hi.

    Directed here from another site, thank you for reading my original open letter.

    The Moors are tidal, right under the green grass and soil, there are numerous underground streams and tidal soaks that connect the Moors as a whole and the surface terrain is nothing to do with the vast amount of water that is present., that is why ‘drying’ a moor that is 7 miles away from a potential tidal disaster will often lessen the matter (although not avoid it entirely).

    By pumping furiously at the Huntspill (North Moor) for sometimes a whole day, the water level as far away as Langport (South Moor) was kept below critical.

    Drainage is often as much as about what you can’t see as what you can.

    Due to the unique nature of the Moors, the ‘Bath Road Ridge’ between the North Moor and South Moor is not some sort of impermeable barrier at all, it is just a surface feature as far as drainage is concerned.

    Thank you again for reading my original and this letter.

    PS. I have long been searching for the perfect term to describe the EA and NMA nailed it, they were indeed ‘High-handed’, I don’t know why I never saw it before, but it really is them to a ‘T’.

  71. I meant to add:-

    It is far more important to pump water from the Eastern ends of the Moors than close to the coast.

    The reason is that the Levees near the coast (Bridgewater) are higher (AOD) than those in the East.(Langport)

    Thanks again.

  72. jones says:
    February 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

    “Is this the pic you’re after?

    http://www.eureferendum.com/images/000a%20Parrett-015%20flood.jpg

    Ironic isn’t it? The site where that photo ends up. The French when faced with a similar dilemma of the Couesnon River at Mont-Saint-Michel put it a proper, computer controlled barrage to ensure that silt was removed from above and below the barrage automatically by the tide. (see my post above).

  73. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Thankyou for making repeated posts to this thread. As I am sure you know, the locals have been complaining mostly at the lack of dredging. But your account says the reduction to pumping was the major cause of the flooding.

    Please be so kind as to post a rebuttal of the dispute of your account which is at

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84714

    and which concludes

    Hence, the ROF story is a complete red herring – even amounting to fiction. The ROF pumping system no longer exists and hasn’t done for a long time. Even when it did, it was not part of the flood management system. It was there simply there to extract water for processing, whence the bulk of it was returned.

    At the western end of the Huntspill, however, there is a working pumping system, the Gold Corner Pumping Station (pictured top), which is operated by the Environment Agency. It moves a massive amount of water into the Huntspill, where it discharges to the sea. And this is clearly successful enough as the land in this particular area has not been flooded this time round.

    Sadly, therefore, the original story simply doesn’t hold water, so to speak. It would have been nice if it had been true, adding to our knowledge. It would also have helped if the verification work had been done before initial publication, thus saving a lot of people from having been misled . But then, you can’t have everything.

    Richard

  74. “Peter Taylor says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:00 am

    I live on the Somerset Levels – though ……

    Dredging is a red-herring, because a) it does not work when flood levels are extreme, and is damaging to wildlife; ”

    Depends on how you define ‘does not work’!

    Dredging will reduce the maximum height of a flood, the lateral extent of a flood and the length of time the flood persists.

    Either or all of the above would be a win win for those effected.

    If dredging is damaging to wildlife, how damaging is flooding that has persisted for over 6 weeks now? I don’t think there are many animals that can hold their breath that long….

    People first, I say…

  75. REPLY: Didn’t know he had it. Ever since he started madly and irrationally dissing WUWT and me for taking a stance on the integrity issues around the pal review journal of his, I’ve stopped reading his blog. Willis once predicted he’d be all alone talking to himself; it seems to have started. – Anthony
    ———————————————————————————
    Well maybe you should start again because there is now clear evidence that you and Willis fell for a three card trick and there were never any integrity issues at all with the articles that were submitted to a journal owned and run by other people. BTW, this is not OT – you brought it up.

    REPLY:
    Cyclomania aside, I don’t think Willis and I “fell” for anything. PMP Journal had reviewer rules, and those rules weren’t followed. That isn’t a debatable issue. I note Monckton has now distanced himself from it all, despite his claim of resurrecting the journal, which now isn’t going to happen under him. – Anthony

  76. 80 miles away to the east is Winchester. Subject to flooding.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-26150006

    To protect the town they are doing the opposite of dredging, they are putting temporary barriers into the river Itchen to cause fields to flood up stream of the town. Once river flows start to return to normal levels the rubble bags will be removed allowing the flood water to leave the fields.

    So adding an obstruction to a river causes the water level to rise and can make the river break its banks.

    But dredging, the removal of material from a river does not work?

    How is it that apparently clever people be so wrong?

  77. Clear to see why some in Government and other authorities now want dredging to take place pean and thimble comes to mind.the less places people look the less likely the truth will come out.unless some Journalist picks this titbit up??

  78. Even as I type the BBC News is pushing the jet stream shift is down to ‘arctic warming’. They manage to do this whilst reporting from record freezing Chicago.
    The other day they were suggesting it was due to warmer water in the pacific.
    We get Labour Party leader Miliband now saying its all down to climate change (ie global warming).
    Rest assured there is no way the debate can be conducted objectively.

  79. Whilst the prime cause of the flooding appears to be the neglect of the EA and those responsible for maintenance of the dredging and pumping on the Somerset Levels, not much is being said about the historical siltation of the Parrett River and its tributaries, which has been a problem since the 18th century.
    My mothers ancestors were mariners who sailed from the Port of Bridgwater during the 18th and 19th Century ( and possibly before that). The Port at one time rivaled Liverpool and Bristol as the prime west coast port. As it grew in importance, it had to be continuously dredged to keep it open and a floating harbour was constructed in Bridgwater that was controlled by a system of lock gates because the tidal range in the Parrett was huge. Ships could only enter and leave the harbour at high tide. For large ships, the Parrett was always difficult to navigate (often requiring manhandling and towing upstream when tides and winds were unfavorable).
    When ships started to exceed 300 or 400 tons and were too big for the River – the Port lost its pre-eminence and finally died in the late 20th century. In its heyday, the Parrett River had to be regularly dredged to keep it open to traffic, a dredger being continuously employed on the task.
    In my last visit to Bridgwater about 4 years ago, it was clear that dredging had ceased and the River no longer was capable of navigation by any more than a rowing boat. The Parrett River has also been neglected by those responsible, hence the photographs in this post showing the build up of sediment.
    Whilst the Huntspill gates may be a significant cause of the problems, if it was to release more water, I should imagine that the flooding could be just as bad in the Parrett and downstream to the Bristol Channel. During high tides, that water has to go somewhere and that is up the silted River Parrett towards Bridgwater. The solution to the Somerset Levels problem will have to include a long look at all of the drainage features of the area, the most important of which is the Parrett itself.

  80. @Keith Willshaw -
    “Thriving low carbon economies” is an oxymoron – ain’t happening.

    @Legatus -
    Yes, the environmental movement has become this generation’s premier array of genocidal criminals. As folks in the UK are all too aware, environmentalism, by means of carbon taxes, is killing more than 30,000 people a year. Here in the US, environmentalist resistance to flood control by combinations like the Sierra Club, Earth First, and the World Wildlife Fund are similarly leading to unnecessary deaths and damage, and the ethanol program is causing millions to starve in sub-Saharan Africa because grains become unaffordable and unavailable.

    Greenpeace destroyed an experimental farm in the Philippines developing a GMO strain of rice enriched with vitamin A as a preventative of blindness in countries where rice is the dietary staple and where up to 500,000 children go blind each year because of vitamin A deficiency. While I generally oppose the death penalty for private citizens, I would definitely apply it to the leaders of organizations that promote blindness and death, and most definitely to any bureaucrat or government functionary of any station who promotes or carries out these outrages.

    Since these people are so quick to penalize and silence those who support honest science and rational solutions to problems, why don’t we give them a dose of their own medicine and tax them enough to pay for the damage they do?

  81. Hi.

    I’ve read the piece linked to JLC to Dr.RN’s site.

    I’m sorry to say that the article writer seems to have not understood how the Moors Drainage works.

    I am going to try to precis the nature of the problem and then how the Pumping and Borrow pits work. I would normally need a few hours, a hundred or illustrations and lots of references, I’m going to have to cut that short.
    The following concerns underground water, not the rivers, rhynes, stream or drains.
    1/. The Moors are effected by tidal flow, not just in the Rivers, but right under the roads, grass, hedges and houses, the ‘Water Table’ as such is tidal. But it is damped so it doesn’t rise and fall the full extent of the Severn estuary but instead fluctuates about a seasonal norm.
    2/. The greatest lag in the fall is furthest point from the outlet, a secondary reason for occasionally pumping at low tide is to assist in this drop in the underlying level, this helps the ground ‘mop up’ any water that does over-break a Levee as well as making it less likely as there is a tidal lift each side of any major body of water. (Refer: Anticline)
    3/. So you have an incline in the table as the tide goes out and the general rise with the tide assisted by any river with a variable anticlinal seep, you have to think in 3D here.
    4/. The KSD, Brue and the Huntspill are not variably anticlinal, because they are not tidal, the Parrett is.
    5/. The KSD, Brue and the Huntspill are NOT rivers, they are effectively canals, they have no natural seep, they do not take water from the Moors through their ‘bottom’ or sides, they are entirely ‘water tight’ in that respect.
    6/. If you were to empty the KSD, B,and H and block their feeds they would not fill all by themselves as any normal river would in a such a high water table area, they’d be bone dry. (but, having said that there is some doubt as to whether the barrier work to the Brue failed when the M5 crossed it, but that would be ‘minor’)

    So how can pumping help this?
    1/. Pumping has to be regular and contiguous in nature and occasionally continuous for long periods when needed or considered to be needed to head off or mitigate a failure.
    2/. Doing this will reduce the height of the underlying tidal incline of the Water Table if your main point of depletion is at that end of it. (Langport in this instance)
    3/. The pumps meant that across the Moors rather than a Tidal incline from West to East there was an anticline instead and the objective of pumping was to have the peak of the anticline further West than Burrow Mump and more marked on the Northern side than the South.
    4/. The Huntspill stops being a ‘canal’ like structure at it upstream end, so that it will take water from the higher water table level at the East end of the Moors, roughly where it becomes the South Drain at it’s junction with Black Ditch, this can be verified by the fact that there will be a set of Borrow Pits there too.
    5/. Black ditch joined The Brue and the Huntspill and if you look at the Google map for the area the picture (I guess taken in the Summer) you can clearly see that at that junction that to the East the river ‘dries’ and becomes ‘weedy’, that is because the water is seeping away into the Moor!

    I’ve had enough for tonight, I will take this up again tomorrow (if anyone is even vaguely interested) .

    Again, thanks for reading.

  82. Well I was heading for bed but read the letter from ‘richardscourtney’ and I felt it rude not to at least put something right.

    Dredging is essential, it always has been,and with the mess that is the Drainage situation at this moment, pressing beyond imagination, Spring will bring lots of water (if it is a normal one).

    Forgive the capitals:-

    I DO NOT WANT ANYONE TO THINK THAT I AM IN ANY WAY AGAINST DREDGING, THE EXACT OPPOSITE IS TRUE… IT IS ESSENTIAL NOW AND FOR FEW MONTHS TO COME.

    I have to make that totally clear.

    Again, thanks for reading this letter, I apologise again for the capitals, I’m not shouting at you.

  83. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Thankyou for your post at February 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm which fulfills my request at February 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm.

    You conclude saying

    I’ve had enough for tonight, I will take this up again tomorrow (if anyone is even vaguely interested) .

    Please be assured that I am very interested and I am sure that I am not alone in that interest so I look forward to your comment tomorrow.

    It is nearing midnight so I, too, am retiring and I wish you a Good Night.

    Richard

  84. Very interesting Corporal Jones’ Ghost, loved the 3D thinking angle.
    Great discussion here, the comments prompted for further explanation and they got it
    in great detail.
    That’s how it should work, great work WUWT.

  85. The Kings Sedgemoor drain has quite a bit of flow to it, even in the summer months the water will flow over the sluice at Graylake also the River Sowy has a flow even in the summer even though its not really a river just another drain like channel and that runs into the KSD below Graylake, when they open the gates In the winter months I can tell you the KSD flows with such force that If you were to fall in you would not stand much chance of getting out and the water level drops quite quickly what is needed is a way to pump the KSD 24/7 also I have noticed the banks have given way and slid into the drain some of that is caused by the winter flow and some of it is the damn cows on the bank churning it all up!, the KSD was built along a pre existing river, The river Brue on the other hand IS a proper river and always has quite a flow though in the summer its quite weeded up and gets very low in places, It was changed in the past to remove some of the larger bends and even after normal rainfall can rise by several feet and its normal to see it spilling over the road near Glastonbury, something I have noticed though is rivers slightly to the north that normally do get very high like the river Axe ect has been at normal levels or even a little below what I would expect at this time of year so go figure!

  86. Awesome post.

    “Policy option 6 – Take action to increase the frequency of flooding to deliver benefits locally or elsewhere, which may constitute an overall flood risk reduction.”

    To add one possibility to what they meant by “deliver benefits locally” this document:

    http://www.somerset.gov.uk/irj/go/km/docs/CouncilDocuments/SCC/Documents/Environment/Countryside%20and%20Coast/Somerset%20Ditches%20%26%20Ponds%20HAP.pdf

    discusses how keeping the rhynes partially silted provides a good habitat for newts.

  87. Thank you, Corporal Jones’s Ghost – you explained it very clearly. I and many others find this hugely interesting. It’s fairly obvious that many alarmists wanted to hide all of this behind global warming, but the truth is coming out and it should harm them AND their Cause.

    Along with huge pay cheques comes huge responsibility. Someone somewhere has to be held accountable. This is a must. The environmentalists who made these decisions need to be dragged forward, their organizations also. They need to be held accountable. Fines, jail time, or something more severe – I don’t care.

    It is also time to cut the funding. Time to dismantle or cast out green terrorist groups everywhere. They don’t have a clue. The problems they rant about are non-existent or minor, their forecasts are a joke, their solutions are costly, inefficient and kill people. Most of all, they lie. They lie and lie and lie again.

    People are being used and abused, and they are realizing it. They are sick of the lies, of the dodging of responsibility, of the costs, the inefficiency and the poverty it brings. It’s been going on far too long and it’s getting worse.

    This now – the flooding – cannot be ignored, because if it is, what’s next? Not just more and continuous flooding, but where else? Which area next to be returned to nature?

    Seriously, the ordinary citizen will take the law into their own hands if they do not see justice done. And soon.

  88. EA England and EPA America are on the verge of being worse than malarial mosquitos, when it comes to doing people harm. I do hope these people in these institutions are aware of history.

    People only take so much, and although I am not aware of the modern equivalent of the pitch fork and torch, they should start to take notice of a rather large ground swell of people that are a tad upset.

    Much can be said about the media whom have encouraged and supported these ignorant anti people fools, useful idiots many, maybe the old village stocks could be used to teach them a lesson.

  89. john
    John Archer says:
    February 16, 2014 at 5:05 am
    Those sluice gates, or whatever their called, don’t look inundated to me and lifting them higher wouldn’t make any difference at the rate of flow shown, so what does this video prove?
    _________________________________

    Incorrect.

    Firstly, the sluice can only discharge what the dykes deliver. if the dykes are all silted, then not much water will be delivered to the sluice. The clue that this is the problem is the green tide-line above the water level. Why open the sluice more, when the water is already a meter below its normal level??

    Secondly, the left sluice in that video is actually open wider than the right. The actual sluice gate is under water (hanging on that rod). If the gate were lifted clear of the water it could easily treble the current flow rate (the water topping over the top is not the sluice water – the real sluice water is running under the gate, largely out of sight). I suspect this gate was not raised further because of point one. The sluice is, in reality, much more eficient than the silted dykes, that cannot deliver suficcient water to the sluice.

    R

  90. BTW, in case anyone across the pond is wondering:

    ROF = Royal Ordinance Factory. A munitions factory.

    So we will not only have too much water in the future, but not enough weaponry either (our military is running at about half normal levels at present.)

    R

  91. Breithart (correction)

    and a quote from point 10.

    The fact – and this cannot be restated often enough – is that these floods are a man-made disaster. But the man-made element has nothing whatsoever to do with anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Rather it is the result of deliberate policy, initiated by the UN (Agenda 21), the European Union and its amen corner the Environment Agency, designed to create wildlife habitats at the expense of humans.

  92. Peter Taylor says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:00 am

    I live on the Somerset Levels – though often away, as now, on ecological research projects. As many of you know, I am a climate skeptic – though not a denialist, reckoning, after three years intensive research and publication of a book, that current warming/hiatus/future possible cooling, is 75-80% natural, the rest due to GHGs, most likely. I am also a conservationist, also with publications and a long history of environmentalist activism – all the way up to UN level, mostly on ocean and atmospheric pollution issues. I am also a ‘green’, leftish, liberal, loving kind-of-guy, though I find it hard to recognise the current ‘greens’ as remotely like the people and the philosophies that birthed the movement. I also have some experience as an advisor and consultant to UK government agencies, including the EA/Countryside Agency and specifically on water issues, landscape, biodiversity, human settlements and energy strategies.

    “As many of you know, I am a climate skeptic”

    NO, YOU’RE ANYTHING BUT A CLIMATE SKEPTIC.

  93. So when is the EU going to pull the plug on the Netherlands, below sea level and one of the most densely populated countries in Europe? Or is it NIMBY all the way down?

  94. The words and actions and life of U.S.A. Secretary of State John Kerry are lies, disdainful and without value for him (his upcoming 2016 Presidential Bid) and the Fascist regime that he with loving kisses represents. Give Obama a kiss would you from me, John Kerry.

    His death card is now drawn.

  95. Just a digression: but why was building allowed in this area?
    If the water management problem is as described in these posts, then surely the logical thing is to leave the entire geographical area uninhabited?
    Am I missing something?

  96. Willhelm,

    Yes, you are missing things.

    1. The area was drained and developed a long time ago.
    2. Flooding wouldn’t be a problem if the drainage systems / channels were being properly maintained.

    Are you offering to pay the costs of moving the current residents / businesses out of the area?

  97. 3D is really the answer. We now have fabulous tools, to picture water levels and flow over large areas and thus the means to effectively and cheaply direct water flows and manage them. A mix of increased flow, controlled and directed flooding and increased water retention would simpye and effectively reduce or even stop such flooding events.

    Indeed wildlife havens and reserves can be built into the system.

    The simple aim is win win not flood and destroy the people and farms. Greens aka watermelons have no interest in such pragmatic schemes.

  98. Wow, this popped into my head while reading this.

    When the obvious is ignored, the truth is fleeting unless the truth grasped and communicated.

    Just sayin, the ignoring of the truth is obvious……

  99. Twobob says:
    February 16, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Having just read the Peter Taylor Blog at 6am.
    I now understand.
    Perhaps others might.
    ———————————
    Peter taylor makes some good points. I disagree fully with his last bit though, where he says that AGW will return to fry the UK, after the cooling.

  100. Matt:
    No, it’s just that I am unfamiliar with that part of the world and, given the apparent predictability of the flooding, I am confused as to why the problem was allowed to develop in the first place .
    Evidently logic didn’t play any part. Much like New Orleans really.

  101. From the eureferendum site:

    Richard North is skeptical as to the accuracy of GCJ statements on a few points. Perhaps someone can assist him?

    ” … As to the rest of the story, we cannot verify it from any independent source, specifically that there was any direct connection between the Kings Sedgemoor Drain and the Huntspill river. …”
    —-l
    Is there an independant source?
    —-l

    ” … What comes over from the picture is that the pumping station is quite small. Furthermore, it has been out of service for a long time, so this is not a question of a pump having been turned off – at least, not recently …”
    —-l
    Can this be proved one way or the other? I assume that recently means 2007 or later and a long time means more than 7 years.
    —-l

    ” …. After being used for processing on the site, some of that water may have been discharged into the sea at the Huntspill sluice, or even into the Huntspill River. It is not at all clear where the discharge was made….”
    —-l
    Is there any other citation available regarding the discharge of the water?

  102. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jakarta:
    - “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Kerry told the audience at a U.S. Embassy-run American Center in a shopping mall.
    - “The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Kerry said. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society,”
    - He added: “In a sense, climate change can now be considered the world’s largest weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even, the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

    Kerry’s program is clear: the science is unequivocal, minorities will no longer be allowed to compete with scientific facts such as ‘climate change is the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction’, the CO2 is the culprit.
    China and U.S., the two biggest sources of carbon dioxide, now agree on reducing vehicle emissions, improving energy efficiency of buildings, … The question is if these measures are the right answer to the 17 year of steady temperature, if these measures will help (it is known that electric vehicles do not emit less CO2) and if the U.S. will also copy China’s procedure regarding dissidents.

  103. From GCJ:

    ” …. We would use >5 thousand million litres every year, rain or shine. …”

    From a statement by the EA:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-26215777

    ” … A spokesman said the River Parrett’s bank had been damaged due to the volume of water being discharged from the King’s Sedgemoor drain. … ”
    —-l
    Does this mean that the silting is less relevant than adequate pumping of KSD? Or does it mean that the volume water that damaged the Parret would have been significantly less if there were adequate dredging in KSD, irrespective of pumping?

  104. negrum says:
    February 17, 2014 at 12:46 am

    My mistake. I see now that the pumps caused the damage. I would still like to know whether “Corporal Jones’ Ghost” feels that pumping as done by the ROF had a significant mitigating effect on the flooding of the Somerset Levels as a whole.

  105. Mike M said: “Would it surprise anyone here that, after extensive digging into government records, memos, etc., that this whole thing was discovered to be some well camouflaged government environmental committee worried sick that some salamander or newt might be sucked through a pump?”

    Not newts. Eels! The European Commission Eel Recovery Plan (Council Regulation 1100/2007) was transposed into English and Welsh law as a Statutory Instrument titled The Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009. *Though I am fairly certain it had nothing to do with this current flooding.*

    There is a major pumping station used to fill Huntspill River called Gold Corner pumping station. The Environment Agency have been looking into ways to make this pumping station eel friendly. In regular operations the 4 pumps can move a combined total of 17.56 tonnes of water a second. It has been used during this flooding event.

    This is a link to an EA pdf about the pumping station and the eel friendly measures they have been looking at.

    A lot of the flooding is to the south of there so looks to me like a failure of the King’s Sedgemoor Drain system instead. That drain drains land and also has a flood relief channel feeding into it to take surplus water from the Parrett river. For some reason or other water either isn’t getting out of Dunball sluice and into the the Parrett river fast enough, or isn’t getting into King’s Sedgemoor Drain fast enough to then be released into the river, or both.

  106. An expert working in the area in question.

    ‘Floods on the Somerset Levels: a sad tale of ignorance and neglect…’

    ‘…Dr Colin Clark is a research and consultant hydrologist who has over 60 published papers. He has been advisory editor to eight scientific journals and is in charge of Charldon Hill Research Station in Somerset, where the longest running measurements of evaporation in England are currently being made…’
    ‘…Dr Colin Clark is a research and consultant hydrologist who has over 60 published papers. He has been advisory editor to eight scientific journals and is in charge of Charldon Hill Research Station in Somerset, where the longest running measurements of evaporation in England are currently being made…’
    http://tinyurl.com/nphznmc An interesting read.

    Pip

  107. the author of the article
    I am remaining anonymous for good reason, I think you’ll understand why.
    ______________________________

    Isn’t is sad that in so many industries and professions (and in political life), people are still being persecuted for telling the truth.

    George Orwell would not have believed how accurate his ideas were going to be…

  108. now..after this water inundation..the excuse my insurers used to not pay a claim..
    how many water n soil borne disease outbreaks are going to pop up?
    start with the oddity Schmallenberg virus” already IN uk and supposedly? caused by midges that blew over from belgium and eu areas a couple of years back. that will be the least of it I am guessing
    foot n mouth , anthrax polio dengue etc all carried by soil water and bugglies that love the damp.
    moulds in/on homes and farms that may have been there but in far lesser quantity.
    rusts n all sorts of crop pests.
    i wont just be ruined homes/jobs/ infrastructure as the outcome

  109. Silver ralph says: February 16, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    “ROF = Royal Ordinance Factory. A munitions factory.

    So we will not only have too much water in the future, but not enough weaponry either (our military is running at about half normal levels at present.)”

    Ralph, forgive pedantry but I think you’ll find it’s ‘Ordnance’ when it relates to materiel.

    Also, I don’t believe the British Army gets any of its ammunition from the UK any longer: it is all out-sourced to Belgium, I believe.

  110. Hi, again!

    I must point out something that may be lost in the endeavour for a greater understanding of the root cause of the problem we are faced with on the Levels.

    Look at what requires no special knowledge and can be verified without requiring more than a click of a mouse button.

    The lost truth is summarised thus:-

    1/. The EA was told and accept they were told to convert the the KSD from Tidal outlet only to a Pumped, Tide Independent system in 2003.

    2/. The chosen site was at the Dunball Sluice in the KSD.

    3/. 11 years later the Dutch have been/are Pumping in that exact spot.

    The reason this was done is simple, the principle, the method and means I and my colleagues proffered almost 15 years ago was a good one.

    But there is a second more ‘self-serving’ reason for the pumping going ahead and not the dredging.

    It is this, the dredging has been neglected and there has been a very vocal campaign that is nationally well known, so to dredge now is to lose face and possibly a few people would be sacked.

    But pumping has had no campaign to highlight it, it has had me, just me, writing to the MSM and being banned from the Guardian CIF site for putting this sort of information into the public domain.

    So pumping can proceed, no jobs are at risk as the endemic incompetence isn’t visible and when the media disappear the dredging can restart discretely during the Summer.

  111. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Sincere thanks for your post at February 17, 2014 at 3:49 am.

    I write to request a clarification because I am not clear what you are saying.
    There is a difference between
    (a) the cause of the floods
    and
    (b) the present remediation of the floods.

    I understood your original post to be an argument that the cause of the floods was mostly reduced pumping. And your argument was that pumping removed water from below ground over much of the levels (so reducing the level of the water table) with result that flooding was reduced distant from pumping sites. Hence, according to my understanding of your original argument, the cessation of pumping from the ROF was the major cause of the widespread present flooding.

    The locals always understood the need for pumping but were most concerned at the silting of waterways (notably the River Parrett and the Kings Sedgemoor Drain) with resulting lack of surface water removal. Thus, lack of dredging was the major cause of increased flooding because reduced water removal was inducing accumulation of both underground and surface water.

    So, there seemed to be a disagreement between your and the locals’ understandings of the major cause of the flooding which was increasing year-on-year.

    I understand your post I am answering to be saying that the pumping is needed to remove the floods, but the major need to avoid flooding is for the dredging to be conducted as normal maintenance.

    I do not dispute the need for both dredging and pumping but it seems to me that you have changed your argument to concur with the view of the locals. Hence, my writing this post as request for clarification.

    Also, the importance of drainage ways pertains not only to the Somerset Levels but also to the Thames flooding as I say in my above post here. So, you can see that my pressing you on your sharing of your expertise is not mere pedantry.

    Thanking you in anticipation of your further reply

    Richard

  112. It does seem a ‘Chicken/Egg conundrum, but it isn’t.

    The collapse of the system stems from one single act omission, the failure to pump and by that pumping keep the water courses clear. That was the card that fell and the remainder tumbled.

    Cessation of both at/around the same time is just crass ignorance especially in the face of so much local knowledge and warning!

    Take a quick look at this leaflet:- http://www.somersetdrainageboards.gov.uk/Southlake_FC_IDB_newsletter_2_Autumn_2010.pdf

    The removal of the pipelines and the bunds (small embankments) that form RWLA system was tantamount to lunacy, in my opinion and I’d guess that of the locals too.

    They admit to planned flooding, the plan failed not due to it being a bad idea alone (it was, again in my opinion, a very bad idea) but additionally the idea was not viable as a cohesive entity that took into account the true nature of the Moor.

    I am amazed at the tolerance of the local people, in the face of far less incompetence in other nations there has been insurrection.

    I’m not sure if my farm/house/home was filling with water ‘on purpose’ I’d be quite as sanguine.

    Thanking for taking the time to read my letters.

  113. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Thankyou for your further reply at February 17, 2014 at 4:44 am which removes my confusion.

    I hope you recognise that my persistent questioning results from genuine interest and I am grateful for your information.

    Perhaps the lessons learned from the Levels will be applied to the Thames and the drainage plan for there will be completed (hope springs eternal).

    Richard

  114. I consider your questions to have been both valid and thought provoking.

    Keep them coming, Steel sharpens Steel.

  115. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 17, 2014 at 3:49 am
    Hi, again!

    3/. 11 years later the Dutch have been/are Pumping in that exact spot.

    Latest news is that the pumps have been switched off.

  116. Yes, they are not discharging onto the Concrete shute but the soft embankment, damage was inevitable.

    They’ll resume once they’ve welded the new pieces of pipe to do this or extended the pipes into water to ameliorate the water abrasion.

  117. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 17, 2014 at 4:44 am

    “The collapse of the system stems from one single act omission, the failure to pump and by that pumping keep the water courses clear. That was the card that fell and the remainder tumbled.”

    Given the tidal range on the Severn, gravity – if properly used – is more than capable of pumping the required amount of water to the sea.

    The Dutch, when they first setup the system, mainly used that alone. It was topped up with some pumping later to help the system move more water to the outlet rather than move that water then to the sea.

    If we were to adopt the style of system that the French use at Mont-Saint-Michel and elsewhere where computer controlled sluices use the available water to keep the channels clear of silt both above and below the barrage as well as pump the water required then things would be a lot better than there are now.

    At couple of those at the confluence of Kings Sedgemoor Drain and the River Parret and also at confluence of Huntspill River and the River Parret would do a lot of the heavy lifting required.

    When you consider the width of the sluices currently used and the lack of a buffering reservoirs close to the outlets it is no surprise the system can barely cope.

    Also the River Parret is tidal all the way to Bridgewater and beyond. Keeping that river course dredged out to a reasonable depth or providing another parallel flood relief channel if that is considered to be too ecologically unsound is one of the options that also needs seriously considering.

  118. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 17, 2014 at 5:12 am

    “Yes, they are not discharging onto the Concrete shute but the soft embankment, damage was inevitable.”

    Which half arsed engineer allowed them to start as they did with the pipes barley over the top on the banking and dropping 10-15 ft vertically to the mud? You could see at a glance what was about to happen then!

  119. Anthony, just for the record, I think you have missed the core of the story here and that is the fact that the lack of maintenance has been caused by the Environmental Agency executing EU Directives. See Eureferendum.

    Also let it be clear that Somerset is not the only land under water.

    The same EU directives have forced the Dutch to turn land into a salt water marsh to compensate for the “environmental damage” caused by dredging the “Schelde”, the waterway that connects the harbor of Antwerp with the North Sea.

    If nations are forced by mandatory directives to compensate dredging operations by flooding land, it is just a matter of time before 1/2 of the World Population have lost their home because that is the number of people living in coastal flood planes which as you know all are in need of regular dredging operations to keep the land dry.

    What should be the TOP story here is the total madness of the EU and it’s system of directives.

  120. Tidal ebbs are powerful and you are right, but only partially.

    If the Moors were subject to no occupation (ie natural) then it would be fine, but the land effectively lost for production.

    So we have confined the River and built shore defences, this has fundamentally changed the effectiveness of the Ebb tide drag.

    The result is that man who did this has to make up for the natural drag of a surface ebb tide on the land.

    We do this by removing all the water we can from the Eastern end of the Moor where the lag in the soil keeps the water table high.

    By doing the drainage the way we have chosen to we have to make up for that shortfall.

    The Dutch use an intensive ‘ditch/field’ system and high levees to allow pumping at the shore line to occur. It is a good system, it isn’t very ‘natural’ looking to the English sensibilities I feel.

    So we went for the more beautiful way the Levels looked until recently, the tiny fields surrounded on 4 sides by water looks too much patchwork quilt for us.

    I am not familiar with the M-St-M system but it sounds like what we did but with humans until recently.

    The lift of water is only needed at tidal break-over points, below that of course nature works perfectly.

  121. With the unusual amount of flooding in Britain recently, we regularly read of comparative flood levels with those of 100 years ago. Such comparisons are meaningless until we factor in the number of other changes to life in Britain over the past 100 years that have had such a bearing on the rivers and water courses across the country. To start with, we now have a population which has increased by 50 per cent from 40 million to 60 million in the last 100 years. The average person, we are told, consumes circa 100 gallons of water a day through washing, showering, lavatories, washing machines, dishwashers, car washing and drinking. Which means that two billion additional gallons of water are being consumed, and subsequently put into the drainage system every day of the year, with possibly twice that figure being used by industry and commerce. The 20 million increase in the population has resulted in a 50 per cent increase in housing stock with the resultant huge increase in rainwater run – off, directly into the drainage system, water which would otherwise be absorbed into the ground and dissipate more slowly. Add to that the massive increase in the building of commercial and industrial properties across the country to satisfy an ever growing economy, and the huge increase in run off of rainwater directly into the system is obvious. More motorways, roadways and airport runways similarly call for major direct drainage facilities. Out of town shopping centres and business parks, with their attendant car parks and roadways covering thousands of acres serving every town of the country, demand similar facilities for taking away rain water very quickly. Natural absorption and drainage is being replaced by more and more by man – made drainage systems which may not effectively replace natural drainage that has evolved over thousands of years. More flood prevention structures are understandably being demanded by householders who have often bought houses that have been erected on flood plains in order that developers and local authorities alike can benefit financially without regard for the long term environmental deficit from doing so. Flood prevention structures are then put into place by environment authorities who seem to completely disregard the old adage that ‘flood prevention upstream means more flooding downstream’; the water has to go somewhere, A good example is the 11 km Jubilee River, built in 2002 at a cost of £84 million, to relieve flooding in Maidenhead and Windsor, which is now being rightly blamed for the excessive flooding downstream of Windsor. Is the environment agency now going to respond to the cries for flood prevention schemes in Datchet and further down the river, if so, where will it all stop? Or will they decide to adopt a policy which allows a flood to take its historical own course and spread and rise less over a wider area rather than force it to rise higher over a lesser area, with a potentially more devastating result? They should think hard about the best way to deal with the occasional, naturally occurring problem of flooding, and question whether their current flood prevention policies are the right ones.

  122. “Which half arsed engineer allowed them to start as they did with the pipes barley over the top on the banking and dropping 10-15 ft vertically to the mud? You could see at a glance what was about to happen then!”

    No Engineer would voluntarily do that unless in the face of an emergency or pressure to start instantly, so it may have been an imposed deadline to get something moving.

    The Dutch engineers would have said something like “2/3 days max (or similar) then we do it properly.” and that is happening now I expect.

    Engineers get the kick in the nuts because bureaucracy often puts us in the firing line for that purpose. It’s part of the job in this Country, even the Dutch can’t avoid it, it seems.

  123. George Lawson:

    Your post at February 17, 2014 at 5:41 am attempts to excuse the results of the EA’s environmentalist policy which has caused the disasterous floods in the North of England, the Thames valley and the Somerset Levels.

    Your failed excuses include this outrageous falsehood

    Flood prevention structures are then put into place by environment authorities who seem to completely disregard the old adage that ‘flood prevention upstream means more flooding downstream’; the water has to go somewhere, A good example is the 11 km Jubilee River, built in 2002 at a cost of £84 million, to relieve flooding in Maidenhead and Windsor, which is now being rightly blamed for the excessive flooding downstream of Windsor. Is the environment agency now going to respond to the cries for flood prevention schemes in Datchet and further down the river, if so, where will it all stop? Or will they decide to adopt a policy which allows a flood to take its historical own course and spread and rise less over a wider area rather than force it to rise higher over a lesser area, with a potentially more devastating result? They should think hard about the best way to deal with the occasional, naturally occurring problem of flooding, and question whether their current flood prevention policies are the right ones.

    If you had read my above post which is here then you would have read

    The unprecedented flooding of the Thames results from a similar policy decision but in that case a higher priority was given to rich residential areas than middle class residential areas.

    Four new channels were scheduled to convey water to the sea. One was completed and the funding for the other three was then removed. So, water which in the past provided minor and historically frequent flooding of Windsor is now transported downstream and is added to what used to be minor and historically frequent flooding but is now a disaster.

    It is bad enough that you environmentalists inflict your evil ideology on people, but it is disgraceful that you pretend the horrific effects of adopting your ideology should be accepted as being unavoidable.

    Richard

  124. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 17, 2014 at 5:38 am

    “I am not familiar with the M-St-M system but it sounds like what we did but with humans until recently.”

    From about 1:16 onwards for a quick description of what happens and how they do it (in French :-) ).

    Lots of other systems likewise over there. They just bother to do the investment that’s all.

  125. I’m afraid George Lawson is repeating a commonly held truth that is in fact a fallacy.

    Built-up landscapes do not increase problems of drainage, they just highlight them, a managed drainage system whether in town or country actually makes up for the ‘natural’ latency of drainage issues.

    The same goes for ‘consumption’, the more water pulled out of the natural environment and encased in pipes, sewers, station, reservoirs, filtration plants, the less there is for people to drown in.

    The latter is so obvious that many who are told this for the first feel quite embarrassed they didn’t see it themselves.

    But there is an issue and one that really upsets people too when they are informed of the fact.

    Modern ‘paved over’ areas are the single biggest reason that places like London are not under huge amounts of water right now, if the ‘paved over’ areas were not there then London would be inundated, but the Thames Valley is ‘sacrificed’ by impeding the flow by use of these ‘paved over’ areas as surface reservoirs.

    Live with it, but don’t be fooled into believing a false reason for it happening.

    The sacrifice is essential, London has an underground network, the cost of that being flooded makes the cost of replacing Paul Daniels furniture and Debbies pretty dresses of no consequence at all.

    As to the idea of their being a ‘class/political’ decision as to where to flood, couldn’t say, looking at it dispassionately, I’d drown the rich houses, there are fewer of them and all with much more land, but i have no idea really!

  126. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    I agree much of what you say at February 17, 2014 at 6:37 am. I write to comment on your saying

    Modern ‘paved over’ areas are the single biggest reason that places like London are not under huge amounts of water right now, if the ‘paved over’ areas were not there then London would be inundated, but the Thames Valley is ‘sacrificed’ by impeding the flow by use of these ‘paved over’ areas as surface reservoirs.

    Live with it, but don’t be fooled into believing a false reason for it happening.

    The sacrifice is essential, London has an underground network, the cost of that being flooded makes the cost of replacing Paul Daniels furniture and Debbies pretty dresses of no consequence at all.

    As to the idea of their being a ‘class/political’ decision as to where to flood, couldn’t say, looking at it dispassionately, I’d drown the rich houses, there are fewer of them and all with much more land, but i have no idea really!

    The ‘class issue’ is certainly asserted by the bulk of the people in the flooded Thames region. It cannot be known if they are right or not, but it is certain that the overall solution was abandoned when the minor problem in the ‘rich’ area was solved by transferring it as an addition to the previously minor problem in the ‘poorer’ area. And the ‘rich’ people have more political ‘clout’.

    It is unfair to malign Mr & Mrs Daniels who have been among the most outspoken complainants at the transfer of the problem from their and their neighbours’ properties. They have made several public appearances to complain about it, notably on BBC1 in ‘The Week In Politics’ last Friday. And – despite their being beneficiaries of the policy – they openly assert that it is a matter of the greater influence of their locality over that of people in the areas which are now flooded.

    Richard

  127. My apologies if my ‘tongue-in-cheek’ mention of the PD-D (first and only gratuitous hip-hop reference of the day :) ) was taken as in any way maligning them, I think to stand calm during such matters is a great show of resilience, no animosity at all was intended.

    But the point stands even if I made it clumsily.

    But I do take your point and will refrain from making light of those who are in the midst of a personal catastrophe.

  128. Corporal Jones’ Ghost,

    Do you know if Dunball sluice is open or is it just the Dutch pumps evacuating water there? In flood conditions the sluice is supposed to be open to allow water from King’s Sedgemoor Drain to enter the Parrett river.

  129. Another Gareth says:
    February 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

    “Do you know if Dunball sluice is open or is it just the Dutch pumps evacuating water there? In flood conditions the sluice is supposed to be open to allow water from King’s Sedgemoor Drain to enter the Parrett river.”

    I did see a video (which I now can’t find) of a reasonable river flow even when the pumps were off so I suspect that they are being used correctly.

  130. BBC Panorama, a major current affairs programme on the network, just aired an hour ‘special’ on the flooding. Needless to say none of the practical reasons for Somerset being under water discussed above was mentioned. Instead, all the doom-mongering concerned ‘global warming’, climate change, and rising sea levels. So predictable, and so depressing.

    Has anyone sent the Corporal’s Ghost’s piece to the local newspapers?

  131. @Sam The Frist
    bit of a nerve you’ve got rewarding the present incarnation of Panorama with “major current affairs programme” tag eh ?

    Wheeling out George Monbiot and comprehensively ignoring most of the key issues … I’m betting the deceit went further when talking to locals and filming – the location crew lied about the program etc… I’m thinking BBC crews will not get a warm welcome in future …..

    For those still following this – see the EA have found another reason to stop pumping – rank incompetence in the operation of pumps…. you couldn’t make it up

    Birdseye view of Dunball c/w stopped pumps and scour damage

  132. No problem, I go down on Thursday, my advice is being sought, nothing sinister.

    A sort of “You were hear for a while weren’t you, you know the lie of the land” invite.

    The ‘odd’ bit was that I was not expecting the call at all!

  133. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    I and I am sure some others would be very grateful if you were to inform us of what you find when you “go down on Thursday”.

    Richard

  134. Absolutely, full disclosure of all I find.

    I love the levels, the scenery and ambience gets right under your skin, I’m sure everybody who has ever been there wants them back to looking as beautiful as they should.

  135. Harry Passfield says:
    February 17, 2014 at 2:59 am

    BAE System’s ROF Radway Green, Cheshire, still makes small arms ammo for British forces. There might be others, too.

    Britain is not yet totally defenseless against the EU.

  136. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    re your post at February 18, 2014 at 4:15 am.

    Thankyou for the promise.

    And it is not only the beauty of the levels as is known to everybody who has seen the wonder of children at the Dancing Trees.

    Richard

  137. My-oh-My:

    Thankyou for the link in your post at February 18, 2014 at 9:21 am.

    I notice that the document begins by saying

    Environment Agency
    Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan – Consultation Draft (Mar 2008)
    We are the Environment Agency. It’s our job to look after your environment and make it a better place
    – for you, and for future generations.

    Well, I suppose the EA has been successful if providing an indoor swimming pool to everybody on the Somerset Levels makes their environment “a better place”.

    Richard

  138. The Environment Agency just another club of voters who have jobs but no idea of what they are doing but spin out who ever is in powers spin, labour or Conservative its all the same, fools are we because we consent to give away our power by voting fools into govern.

  139. “Is the assertion that failure to pump into the Huntspill as previously maintained by ROF Bidgewater caused this flooding still alive?”

    It most certainly is!

    Just dredging alone will cause greater problems in the long run and will be regrettable in the extreme.

    Dredging should be minimal, it used to be when we were in charge of the pumps, the scour we produced was not the action of a blade and the amount of Dredging was minimal and therefore the damage minimised.

    If the pumping doesn’t resume and dredging alone occurs to clear/clean the entire Moor then in 20 years we can kiss good bye to the natural look of the place,

    The concrete topped line of sheet piles will creep further and further up the Parrett, the run-offs will be concrete channels, the ‘idiot advocates’ of Dredging alone will have that as a result of their pleading for a single answer, they are morons. There is no other term for it… morons.

    Because the pumps were off and the Huntspill became a ‘Fishing Amenity’ rather than essential part of the draining of the Moors there is a pressing need for dredging and that cannot be avoided, but the if they remain off each dredge will be as aggressive as the last and damaging as a result.

    Dredging has to be a ‘light touch’ operation in combination with controlled and planned pumping with its concomitant scour.

    Even with all the ‘knowledge’ available at their finger-tips the internet is still infested with the vociferous moron who wouldn’t understand the term synergy if their life depended on it.

    On it’s own Pumping is not the answer, on it’s own Dredging is not the answer, put them together with a sprinkling of intelligence and skill and they will do all the work required with no damage.

    Shame on all those who can’t/won’t see this.

  140. @ Corporal Jones’ Ghost – February 18, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Sorry to labour the point (I have read your earlier posts so hope I haven’t missed the obvious) but could you elaborate on how the original ROF pumping occurred?

    The OS map shows two stations, one to the east of the ROF site & one to the west. The eastern site looks long gone & the western one seems to have evolved into a small modern twin set. There is a similar twin set site further still to the west.

    I am genuinely interested in how the ROF site operated (almost irrespective of the current circumstances). So if I may ask:

    1. How was water drawn from the Huntspill & returned during your time (over/underground
    piping)?
    2. What part did the reed bed play?
    3. Was water taken from below ground & if so, to what extent?

    From the maps (Google), there seems fewer surface drainage/channels to the immediate area south, west & north of the ROF site as well as the wider areas to the west.

    Thanks in advance.

  141. Well 7 days ago this was the flood map

    Notice that the area around the Huntspill, whilst it is showing some water inland, is not the major area of flooding.

    That is around the River Parret and the Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

    Both the Huntspill and KSD are gravity drained to the sea at their seaward end (now with added Dutch pumping on the KSD).

  142. The Huntspill was nothing more than a reservoir that could be flushed out or dropped at will, because our own pumps filled all the borrow pits and tanks on site, we could then pump out into the Parrett by-passing the need to wait for the tide to allow the Huntspill to be drained.

    Gold Corner (GC) was our means to provide the initial water fill but also the means to drag water from the entire Moors basin.

    As an aside, it is a single basin, the EA artificially separated the Moors into North and South administratively but they are both the same. under the soil. the high ridge that separates the two is just soil on top of the same shingle formation that makes up the Eastern end of the Moors, the ‘hills’ are simply on top of a spit of shingle many feet down, that shingle with its immense volume of interstices is the reason you can pump on the North Moor and drop the levels in the South, despite it being behind a hill!

    So GC would draw water furiously out of the South Drain the SD is shingle bottomed (go take a look) and it is directly connected by that Shingle to the Eastern side of the Moors, so if you pull water at GC you are taking water from Langport a fair few miles away.

    The interconnectedness of the Moors is invariably overlooked/disregarded/unknown by too many commentators and the lack of this particular bit of knowledge makes them say foolish things.

    Aeons ago the Levels were a normal beach and like all beaches any shingle ended up at the tide line, in this case a line drawn between Ilminster-Ilchester-Castle Cary-Wells, the Ice ages also deposited a large amounts of scree and the rivers that formed from the melts caused the formation of all the ‘spits’ of land, they are the Somerton/High Ham ridge, the Somerton/Puriton ridge and the Wells/Wedmore. All of these hills are at their base huge scree/shingle spits and they are filled with water.any depth between 5-60 feet below what is 0m AOD.

    Anyway, let’s get back to the unobservant for the moment.

    Has anyone anywhere on the ‘net ever asked the simplest and perhaps most startlingly obvious yet unanswered questions?

    Why is there a huge and very powerful pumping station at the ‘wrong’ end of the Huntspill?

    Why is the river in front of the pumps so big but the river behind so narrow and small?

    I will provide the answer tomorrow evening, I doubt if a single internet ‘pundit’ will know… the correct answer will knock every reader for 6!

  143. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Huntspill

    “The concept for the Huntspill River was first suggested by J. Aubrey Clark in 1853, as a way of improving the drainage of the lower River Brue. Faced with the need to supply 4,500,000 imperial gallons (20,000,000 l; 5,400,000 US gal) of process water per day to ROF Bridgwater, the Chief Engineer of the Somerset Catchment Board revived Clark’s plans, and combined the water supply solution with a drainage scheme. A 5-mile (8.0 km) straight channel was excavated using a dragline excavator during the early years of World War II. It was constructed as a priority war work, because of its importance to the munitions factory. The plans had been drawn up in late 1939, and by January 1940 the first excavations were being made.[1]

    It ran from Gold Corner, where it was connected to the South Drain, to a new outfall on the estuary of the River Parrett,[1] and had retention sluices at both ends, so that it acted as a long reservoir.[2] It was intended that in the summer, when water supply was lower, it would serve as a reservoir with water pumped from the moors; in winter as a drainage channel, via gravity drainage.

    i.e. the Huntspill cab considered to be a long reservoir, pumped up into from the Easterly end.

    It can also be used as a gravity drained system when required (though its level is normally maintained above the feed water).

  144. Yes, I said the same in my first paragraph, but that is not the reason for the seemingly ‘odd’ arrangement.

  145. In fact the Gold Corner pumping station is the one that keeps the rest of the land inland ‘dry’ and that’s well upstream of (water wise) ROF Bridgwater. That pumping station is in fact the supply to it.

    “A Pumping station was constructed [Gold Corner ] at which housed 4 Sultzer horizontal pumps powered by two-cylinder Crossley oil engines. The pumps are still in use today with one being electrified in 1968. The pumps have the ability to pump at the total rate of 1100 gallons per minute.”

    to pump into the shallower than originally planned ‘reservoir’.

  146. I’ll go so far as to suggest that if it hadn’t been war time, then they would have excavated down to the required lower level, carted away the soil, and lined it better to prevent collapse. Cheaper after the initial costs.

    Things done in haste and all that.

  147. Corporal Jones’ Ghost, Did I get it right?

    ROF Bridgewater water system had:
    1) South Drain draining the lowest spot of the whole “valley” (Levels)
    2) Underground gravel layer, to allow the underground flow of water from whole valley to this lowest spot
    3) Gold Corners pumps to fill the reservoir which holds the water (Huntspill river)
    4) Sluice to the sea at the west end of the reservoir
    5) Channel / pipe from factory to Parrett (to the sea)
    6) Intake pipe from Kings Sedgemoor Drain to factory

    So you could

    1) Drain the whole “valley” by pumping water from Shouth Drain to reservoir (Huntspill river)

    2) Take the water from reservoir and pump it to sea regardless of tide

    3) Empty the reservoir (huge quantity of water) to sea at low tide by opening the sluice

    4) If needed pump water from Sedgemoor Drain to sea

    So even if rivers were silted, it did not matter as water flowed underground to the lowest point of the area and was drained from there. Rivers were not critical as long you were pumping the valley (Levels) dry from “underneath”.

    EA did not understand what you were doing. They did not understand it when they made their plans and calculations that you were removing huge amount of water from the _whole_ valley.

    When pumps stopped, all their calculations went wrong. They thought that your system was draining only the north side, or something.

    When pumping stopped, rivers and channels could not flow enough to sea, groundwater level started to rise, until whole area flooded badly.

    Unless the level of groundwater is lowered now
    1) draining the area with surface flow will take forever
    2) Area will flood again, as the groundwater is way too close surface. Any rain raises the flood again and surface flow can not drain the ground water because it is below sea level.

    Any points from my guesses?

    Google map showing fields under water even at summertime, at the south drain area and no where else -> lowest point. Designers of the munitions factory wanted to make sure that South drain was at the lowest area of the region.

    https://www.google.fi/maps/place/Ilminster,+Somerset+TA19/@51.2030682,-3.0130602,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48726d6336ed9169:0xffb06de6f15e45a7

  148. A decent map (UK OS) – hopefully widely accessable.

    http://www.bing.com/maps/?mkt=en-gb&v=2&cp=51.208056~-3.014444&lvl=14&sp=Point.51.208056_-3.014444_River%20Huntspill&sty=s

    The ‘Munitions Factory’ site lies just north of a line twixt Puriton and Woolavington.
    A connection to the site, from The Huntspill River is plainly visible.
    2 Km South of the site lies Crandon Bridge, spanning the King’s Sedgemoor Drain.

    If Crandon Bridge pump station supplied the ‘factory’ as a back up supply via pipework, then perhaps it is quite plausable that the factory could pass the water straight through to it’s own River Parrett outlet be it via The Huntspill River cum resevoir or direct pipework.
    Lowering the KSD removes the west end accumulations virtually at source.

    Zooming into the OS map one can see that ‘Gold Corner’ handles flow from the River Brue via Cripps River, and the South drain to the Huntspill River.

    Blimey, what a complex area, I have sympathy with those trying to manage the whole thing.

    Somewhat relieved I live in North Somerset !
    Pip

  149. ‘…Lowering the KSD removes the west end accumulations virtually at source…’
    Sorry I should have written ‘East end runoffs.’
    And ‘reservoir’ not ‘resevoir’

    Come on CJG let us have the locations of pipes, pumps and outlets. Otherwise no three stripes for you !
    Pip

  150. @ CJG: It doesn’t strike me that GC is at the “wrong end” of the Huntspill. The Huntspill was primarily built to guarantee a water supply for the ROF. The area to the south (along the A39 is a ridge of high ground, which as you have pointed out “is not an impermeable barrier” but does prevent surface water directly flowing to the north.

    The draining of the area to the north & east of the ROF site is surely the logical source for its needs. The Huntspill also (now) acts as a reservoir to the moors north & east of GC, into which water can be pumped back during periods of low rainfall for irrigation.

    What was the purpose of the pumping station at Crandon Bridge? Is is in any way linked to one of the two reservoirs shown on the high ground just to the north east?

    What isn’t clear is the extent of pumping within the ROF site & the below ground connections. Also, the Google earth mapping does not show all of the water courses that the OS mapping does. My earlier assumption that the area around the site & to the west having fewer drainage channels might be, er, wrong.

    @ Janne Pohjala: The underground strata, the associated water courses & the extent to which water moves between the two areas needs more discussion.

    @ Pip Sant: The connection from the Hunstpill to the ROF site is a series of reed beds, which looks pretty dry on the present Google Maps (Earth) view. AND….. to echo…….. Come on CJG, put us out of our misery.

  151. “The underground strata, the associated water courses & the extent to which water moves between the two areas needs more discussion.”

    Definitely. If that claim “holds water” so to say, then one option to pump out the flood is to open Huntspill sluice as open as possible at low tide and run existing GC big scale pump station at full power, which would drain the whole valley all the way to Langport at SE at the rate of 17.56m3/s.

    If the pump at the factory has already been dismantled, additional pumps could be placed at Huntspill sluice and pumping can be done 24h/day in case Huntspill reaches is highest possible water level before tide allows the sluice to be opened. This way Huntspill acts just at it was built for, as a reservoir which can be pumped full and then drained to the sea at high rate.

    The video from Huntspill sluice can actually be very important. If that was before the main waterway to pump the water out of the whole valley, and is now at the upper limit of water and not flushed to sea so that more water can be pumped to reservoir during the high tide, no wonder that level of ground water will rise until the level of it is above ground..

    As this important flood prevention reservoir has now been converted to some fishing estuary, EA wants to keep water level constant (high) all the time, which means that the flow of water to sea is only a fraction what it could be. Video seem to support this. With this kind of flooding, we should see totally open sluice gates and water gushing away from Huntspill, so that GC can run full power during the high tide and fill up the Huntspill again.

    We definitely need more information about the geology and all other information as well. Claim is that CJG is that by pumping water from South drain, the ground water levels dropped all the way to Langport, several miles south east.

  152. About the pipelines underground. Could this be the end of a factory to sea pipeline? See lower left corner of the picture. Pipe is just next to Huntspill sluice.

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps?ll=51.205823,-3.014682&spn=0.001519,0.002411&t=h&z=19

    Yes, I would think that those reservoirs are linked to Crandon Bridge pumping station. They could be the highest point of the pipeline, rising from pumping station and then going downhill. These would act as a water tower.

    It was mentioned that primary water source of ROF was Huntspill and this was secodary. This could also mean that this would also be smaller pumping station as GC. Could it be that GC is so large, to be able to do the extra draining too?

  153. This for a very nice comparison of the flood problems around the King’s Sedgemoor Drain and the River Parret which is where most of the flooding has occurred.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=83157&eocn=home&eoci=iotd_readmore

    Flip between now and earlier.

    Please note that, although this set of images does not show it, the area around the Huntspill River is not currently a big problem and that the pumping station at Gold Corner which is what fills the Huntspill (and hence is the priming pump for ROF Bridgewater) is apparently able to keep up with the flows to it at present.

  154. Janne Pohjala says:
    February 19, 2014 at 1:49 am

    “Citizen, channel from Huntspill to factory looks dry, but square concrete slabs with grass are on top of the channel covering it, not at the bottom of it. Here is a opening in the cover at the factory end of the channel, and there’s water flowing in the channel below surface level.

    https://www.google.fi/maps/@51.182474,-2.9530263,310m/data=!3m1!1e3

    This Bing maps shows the connection between the two quite clearly from the OS map of the area.

    Gold Corner to the Sea.

    http://binged.it/1gECrp9

  155. I asked yesterday if anyone could guess why the GC pumps are so massive but the ‘rivers’ that feed it are so tiny and almost flat.

    If the GC pumps were switched on at full bore with ‘normal’ rivers of that size and flow the pumps would over heat due to lack of flow in about 10 minutes.

    But they were often run for 4 to 8 hours at a stretch with that never being and issue and they were pumping into the Huntspill from the Cripps and South Drain?

    From here this looks like being a very long letter, so you might want to highlight it and print it out because ink on paper allows easy tracing of previous points for recapping your thoughts.

    I have put some thought into how to make this plain for all to see on a far from ideal medium.

    I previously pointed out the nature of how the Moors came to have their particular formation, it was and is vital to the readers understanding of the matter in hand.

    If you arm yourself with a pen/pencil and a sheet of paper you will make your life easier.

    Right, on that sheet draw a large reversed capital ‘E’, so the 3 legs point to the left, about 150mm tall, make the middle leg a tiny bit shorter and about 3/4s of the way up the vertical leg.

    Now, draw one of these… ‘)’ the smile bit of a smiley, and join that to the top and bottom tips of the rev.E but not touching the middle leg.

    Now, imagine that the bottom half of the Rev E were a square and put a dot in the middle of that square.

    Join the ‘dot’ to the vertical line of the Rev E.

    Label as follows,
    top horiz line, Brean on the left tip and Shepton Mallet on the right.
    Next down horiz line, Puriton (left) and Butleigh (right)
    The Dot, High Ham (promontory)
    Bottom Horiz line, Bridgewater/Stolford (L) and Shepton Beauchamp (R)
    The ‘)’ is the coast line in the Severn estuary.

    Now on the vertical line ‘|’ of the rev E make little circles as is you were drawing tiny boulders along each side, then do the same on the two middle horizontal lines and smooth it out, cut the corners and partially fill it with these circles.

    What you now have is a diagram of the prehistoric formation of the Moors, you are likely to be in possession of more real and more accurate information than the EA ever has and more importantly you can, armed with this little sketch make more and better judgements about what should happen on the Moors, understand why the Pumping ‘works’ and gain an insight into what is in the World of hydrology an amazing attribute of the Moors

    Unfortunately I have to attend to something, back shortly.

  156. Back again to bore you senseless.

    You can if you wish now go to Google maps, and select the terrain option and zoom into the area of our sketch.

    You will note that the rev E leans back a bit and the lines are not so straight, your map is a bit like the modern London underground map, simplified!

    On top of the pre-historical depiction we have sub-soil, soil etc. in places 5 feet deep and in others 60 feet.

    Now take a good look at that Google map at the area just to the West of Glastonbury, see all those lakes, that is where there is barely 5ft of soil above the ancient shingle beach.

    Return to your diagram, notice that we placed the ‘middle’ horizontal line higher up, this is important. There are two ancient aquifers that drain into them, one though is huge and the other small, the huge one is the lower part of the rev E and the small one the upper.

    The underground water ‘migrates’ up the vertical line and tries to escape through that middle horizontal line to the sea and it does, but it also moves beyond it to the upper part of the rev E.

    It is this weak Artesian effect that means if you pump water on the North Moor you don’t lower it, it rises!!! If the GC pumps were kept on for an extended period, they would drown and the North Moor flood, the South Moor would lose water and the level of it drop!

    Effectively the GC pumps ‘prime’ a natural pump that is at least 1,000 times more powerful.

    You may now additionally realise why we wanted the EA to pump not at the Huntspill but on the KSd, it runs parallel to the natural river under the hill it skirts and as such even if they were utterly incompetent they couldn’t cause flooding so long as they came on every so often they couldn’t cock it up.

    Put them in charge of the GC complex and the mayhem would make today’s situation look like splashing about in a puddle.

    That is why they are not emptying the Huntspill and turning on those GC pumps, they are not sufficiently competent to do it without creating a disaster.

    This is a catalogue of failure after failure by the EA.

    If you have trudged through this rather difficult pair of letters and persevered then you deserve applause and praise, we have cut every corner in knowledge out there, chopped bits off it, but if you have got this far you’re in possession of real knowledge and you can assess properly the ‘performance’ (both proper and ‘theatrical’) from the EA over the coming months.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

    CJG.

  157. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 8:39 am

    “It is depressing to put in the effort and it fail… oh well.”

    I thought your words conveyed it quite well. A map or diagram might help make it clearer. I cannot find an appropriate geology map online at present.

  158. I think I understood the schematics, but I did not get why North Moor “beach area” would start getting more water in that what is taken away by the pumps?

  159. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Sincere thanks for your series of informative posts.

    I have made my ‘paper diagram’ but I, too, would prefer a diagram supplied by you. Have you asked our host if that can be arranged within the thread and, if not, please would you?

    I am fascinated by the apparent paradox which you report saying

    It is this weak Artesian effect that means if you pump water on the North Moor you don’t lower it, it rises!!! If the GC pumps were kept on for an extended period, they would drown and the North Moor flood, the South Moor would lose water and the level of it drop!

    Effectively the GC pumps ‘prime’ a natural pump that is at least 1,000 times more powerful.

    Assuming this is true – and I have no reason to doubt it, then the EA seems to have been even more incompetent than I or the locals in the Levels have appreciated. This does not give confidence in the present and future activities of the EA in the Somerset Levels.

    Again, thankyou.

    Richard

  160. Some punchline (crossed post BTW). How quickly do you think the current situation could be recovered using the mechanism you describe compared to what is going on now?

  161. The apparent ‘paradox’ comes about because the underground water keeps itself largely in check.

    The effect of sucking water out of this balanced picture (at GC) is that the huge power of the weakly artesian water is released.

    It is considered ‘weak’ because it is barely discernible over a few square feet of a well, so it won’t rush up the well like a conventional artesian well.

    But the effect of removing water is similar to when someone pinches the fuel out of your cars fuel tank, once you start it works all by itself and the the flow will increase to a rate far greater than your original suck.

    The same applies to the GC pumps, if you don’t know what you are doing then an underground Tsunami is released and the levels at the pumping point become critical, the pump will not keep up and it will be swamped, about 24 hrs later after you’ve flooded thousands of people out of their houses and homes it will have stabilised and drop again, but this drop will be slow because there isn’t a GC type installation near Langport, there is a plant, but not quite powerful enough.

    It is a bout the ratio of the lower part of the rev E to the upper part, so the flow from the larger body of water to the smaller is exaggerated and the return flow minimised, the flooding is quick to arrive but slow to return.

    I don’t know how to do pics and drawing things on the net (I’m old, forgive me) sorry.

  162. One of the issues is that ‘Policy 3′ extends to the area that contains the ROF and ‘Policy 6′ applies to the Parrett area.

    Same Moor, different policies, a recipe for disaster!

  163. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 9:48 am

    “I don’t know how to do pics and drawing things on the net (I’m old, forgive me) sorry.”

    Do it on the PC with any Paintbox application or the like and post the results from it to Photobucket (or other similar sites) as I do.

    http://s29.photobucket.com/

    http://snag.gy/

    will even do it straight from your clipboard – just copy an image (ctrl+c usually) and paste it to the world with a ctrl+v :-)

    [Please add a second reply to show how the other users can post an image so it is visible in an answer, not just a link to an image. Mod]

  164. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 9:48 am

    “The apparent ‘paradox’ comes about because the underground water keeps itself largely in check.

    The effect of sucking water out of this balanced picture (at GC) is that the huge power of the weakly artesian water is released.

    It is considered ‘weak’ because it is barely discernible over a few square feet of a well, so it won’t rush up the well like a conventional artesian well.

    But the effect of removing water is similar to when someone pinches the fuel out of your cars fuel tank, once you start it works all by itself and then the flow will increase to a rate far greater than your original suck.”

    That does require a hydraulically sealed syphon with a vertical height drop for such increase to happen. I was not aware of any such structures below the moors.

  165. I see, it’s more like artesian layer but upside down and works like an siphon? How did you discovered it? Has there been this kind of event some time in history before, when you were pumping water out and caused a flood and discovered this feature and this way figured a way how to avoid it?

  166. Could it be an similar thing as if you have a pool of water at the beach and use stick to make a small stream in sand and water starts to flow. Flow takes more sand with it making stream bigger and bigger and pool starts to drain faster and faster?

    Could this happen underground also? Like if you lower the ground water level on north side, higher water on the south side starts to flow in sand and gravel layer towards north, seeking a weak spot. When the pressure difference gets too high, weakest spot underground gives and sand and gravel starts to flow with water opening up an underground river, which moves water faster and faster to north until both pools are at equal level?

    So creating large difference in ground water level changes the flow of water from slowly seeping though sand and gravel bed to new underground river flooding the north pool?

    By the way, if this has happened before, how long time ago it was? I mean that is it possible that that underground river created then, could it still be there and would prevent the sudden flood if this underground waterway would still be there? Could the water now flow smoothly using exiting route if it still exists? What is the difference of ground water levels between south and north at the moment? How much pent up potential energy there is?

    I agree that current pumping is the safest way, but could it be tested somehow if the northern route could also be used with higher rate. It could double the draining rate?

  167. Nope, tried to it in Open Office draw and i nearly punched the screen out.

    I can draw it in a 30 seconds with pen and paper, just spent 20 fruitless and frustrating minutes hoping my computer might be as useful as pen and paper, it’s not!

    I’m going to give up on this, sorry.

  168. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    “Nope, tried to it in Open Office draw and i nearly punched the screen out.”

    I use Paint.net for photos and for quick sketches all the time. It has a very useful layer ability with a undo/redo capability that means you can get yourself out of almost any hole you get into.

    A simple pen and ink if that is all you want. Lines, circles, etc. are yours to command.

    And all for free with tutorials if you need them.

    http://download.cnet.com/Paint-NET/3000-2192_4-10338146.html

  169. richardscourtney February 18, 2014 at 9:51 am (My-oh-My at 9:21 am)

    “We are the Environment Agency.
    It’s our job to look after your environment and make it a better place– for you, and for future generations”

    RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

  170. Corporal Jones’ Ghost, wouldn’t it be easier to download an online map of the relative area (if too big, just cut out the area you want and paste it into a new picture), and just draw the lines on that (like a highlighter pen type width) and save it as a different file name?

    Once you get part of it right, save as a new file name, get the next bit right, save as a different file name, and so on, so if one bit doesn’t turn out right, all you have to do is load your last saved file name to save starting over again?

    Good luck with it, I’ve spent many long nights doing things like this, and it does get easier.

  171. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    “Nope, tried to it in Open Office draw and i nearly punched the screen out.”

    I think that this shows what you wanted

  172. OK. Can we say to AGW-positives that there seems to be serious AGW going on is south part of moor, but a few miles north there seem to be no AGW. Could you explain this? Could there be some differences in draining?

    I think it’s plausible that EA measured the river flows on south side when factory was still pumping water and taking water away from south and they did not know it? When pumping lessened, ground water started raise in the whole area and GC now only keep north side dry and there is now more water on the south side, which cannot drain on surface though silted waterways.

  173. Janne Pohjala says:
    February 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    “OK. Can we say to AGW-positives that there seems to be serious AGW going on is south part of moor, but a few miles north there seem to be no AGW. Could you explain this? Could there be some differences in draining? ”

    The lack of dredging on the River Parret which would probably have improved water flow down stream (alright it is complicated by silt inflow from the Severn as well) and poor maintenance of the KSD water flows seems to have been the major problem.

    Bridgewater used to be a sea port at one time – lousy navigation requirements though as do all other rivers on the Severn!

    The Gold Corner pumping station/Huntspill River will do little to help the higher reaches of the Parret around Burrowbridge unfortunately AFIK.

  174. @Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    I would be grateful for some clarification on a couple of points, if you would:

    1>”The underground water ‘migrates’ up the vertical line and tries to escape through that middle horizontal line to the sea and it does, but it also moves beyond it to the upper part of the rev E.”

    and:

    2> “It is this weak Artesian effect that means if you pump water on the North Moor you don’t lower it, it rises!!!”

    What mechanism allows the ‘migration’ of the water up our vertical line of the reversed ‘E’, is there a sloping shingle bed and why does the removal of a little of the hydrostatic head cause this movement to start?

    Thank you for your contributions.

  175. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    The image I posted earlier updated with the rough areas that are/were under water

  176. @R. de Haan,

    I guess that turning man-made rivers/reservoirs into ‘fish-ponds’ is not the best way forward!

  177. Janne your second is close, if we lay the flooded area on RLHs drawing over it you have it nailed.

    The water is under pressure from the inland aquifers, the less soil on top the more readily it will breach the surface and that is why there is that splash in the North, there is very little cap on the water.

    So drawing the water toward the North Moor is a carefully controlled exercise.

    The GC pumps start big to get the natural artesian pump to start then the GC is used to keep it from letting go completely, it is a balancing act.

    Too much of one for the EA we thought and so they were given the easy option, they didn’t have munitions to make, and the pumps on the end of the KSD were proposed.

    But rejected.

    There are pumps there now and a permanent installation is almost certain now on the site.

    This is a good thing.

    Pull the water out on the KSD now as fiercely as they can then dredge the rivers carefully, after a while run the pumps on alternate overall rates, the best way is to have 5 pumps and run them alternately 4 then 1 so as to provide a good scour.

    Child’s play.

  178. Enjoy your ‘invite’ visit today, keep them on the side of common-sense.

    Thanks again for your input, do tell us how it went.

  179. Not that it is important, but since it done; as I see the outlined map, using Google Earth:

    Follow the yellow-shingle-road though, the red lines were my first ‘rough’ try (that I then could not find a way of removing)

  180. Corporal Jones’ Ghost says:
    February 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    “Pull the water out on the KSD now as fiercely as they can then dredge the rivers carefully, after a while run the pumps on alternate overall rates, the best way is to have 5 pumps and run them alternately 4 then 1 so as to provide a good scour.”

    Before they go rushing off to add pumps then a 3 step plan to do it all with gravity would probably be a good start.

  181. RichardLH:

    I dot intend to denigrate the expertise of Corporal Jones’ Ghost but I write to support your post at
    February 20, 2014 at 2:46 am.

    The Levels were drained to provide needed additional agricultural land in support of the Napoleonic Wars. This was conducted from 1770 to 1883

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/621006?uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103425633051

    Clearly, there have been many land use changes since then, but I would welcome an explanation from Corporal Jones’ Ghost as to why he thinks additional pumping stations with a complex pumping schedule (with possibility of scheduling error) is now needed.

    Richard

  182. richardscourtney says:
    February 20, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I was taken over a lot of the levels as a kid (my uncle worked for British Cellophane in Bridgewater) to see the engineering that had gone on.

    I am sure I went to Dunball quay but I just cannot remember what the sluices looked like then. There is no question that any hydraulic engineer would have a fit about the state of the last few 100′s meters of the channel as it is now!

    And they wonder why it cannot shift the amount of water to sea that is required?

    As I mentioned up thread, the French (and the Dutch) have a much better grasp of how to use Gravity and the Tides to do a lot of heavy lifting, without the need for continuous pumping.

    The Gold Corner pumps were only there in the first place because they didn’t have the time to build a proper, fully gravity drained solution for the Huntspill River (again see up thread). Too much haste in war time I suspect.

  183. Found it. The Dunball Clyce was re-built in 1972 when they no doubt did all the piling and narrowed the entrance, etc., extended the Wharf to allow for more gravel shipping as far as I can tell. The entrance was much wider before then but the only photos I can find stretch back to 1900′s which was certainly before my time!

    They always had problems with that exit to the river, silting up and the like (14 ft of silt not being considered unusual!), as it was a compromise because of objections by landowners back in the 1700′s that put it there in the first place!

  184. Given a ‘letter’ from experts published in the Daily Telegraph today,
    ‘The Government needs to call in the flood experts’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10652611/The-Government-needs-to-call-in-the-flood-experts.html

    I redraw attention to my initial link posted Feb 17th. This is not a long meandering load of old rope. But a real expert who properly lays out facts (see Rainfall para) and his idea of ‘the way ahead’.

    http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurefloods-on-the-somerset-levels-a-sad-tale-of-ignorance-and-neglect-4172602/

    Pip

  185. Pip Sant says:
    February 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    “If the capacity of the rivers Tone, Parrett, and Brue in their lower reaches were to be increased by 10m3 s-1 then allowing for the effects of the daily tidal regime, would be expected to evacuate an additional 1.29Mm3 per day.”

    I think that says it all.

    Coupled with decent maintenance of the Rhynes, Ditches, man made Rivers, Sluices, etc. would remove the need for any additional pumps and let nature and the tides do it all properly (and for free or nearly so). Bring in the French and the Dutch as consultants as suggested in the letter in the Telegraph (though I do think we have good enough engineers here in the UK to do it if only someone would spend the money to ask them and implement what they say is needed in the first place).

  186. What I think is surprising with all the experts running around suggesting that dredging is not the answer is that no one looks at the pictures of the water fed to the Dunball Clyce and wonders why it is that the picture looks like a shallow set of rapids!

    and that is before the pumps were switched on!

    That last few hundred meters of the KSD has been allowed to fall into neglect over time (since BR flogged off the Wharf probably) and it now acts as a giant stopper on the proper flow of water to the sea.

  187. Been down there, came back this morning!

    I spoke to some farmers and was able to check if the ‘cross flow’ runs were clear to the shingle, not one was. Not a single one, walked the entire area we used to inspect with a rope shovel every run has at least a foot of clay like silt on it’s bottom.

    100 years of good management lost in just 5/6 years of incompetence.

    Not an ounce of shame is on the faces of the EA chaps and chapesses, in fact they see this as more reason to not bother to maintain the moors.

    My opinion is that the Levels as we have known them is condemned to a historical footnote, there is no enthusiasm for them as they were and the talk is still of the idea of a wading bird sanctuary, to be discussing the flooding and to be told to ‘look over there’ at a 6inch deep lake/puddle with a few hundred birds on it’s edge and ‘realise’ what a ‘fabulous and magnificent sight’ that is, is galling, infuriating actually.

    If I was a home owner on that Moor I’d have drowned that person there and then, I’d be under arrest.

    Kiss the Moors goodbye, we are being dictated to by idiots.

    Cheered myself up yesterday with lunch in Somerton but the gloom descended once we left the pub.

  188. Just to let CJG know that someone is still reading this thread!

    It’s not just the Levels. Sometimes I think “Kiss Britain goodbye”. We are being ruled by student activists who never grew up.

    One day, they will be looking for people like yourself who remember how things ought to be done. But we shall all be dead and gone, taking our knowledge with us, and our successors will have to re-invent the wheel. So this is how empires fall.

    I suppose there is still an outside chance that the British people will wake up before it’s too late. But they will have a mountain to climb.

  189. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    Thankyou for your report at February 24, 2014 at 8:05 am. It includes this

    My opinion is that the Levels as we have known them is condemned to a historical footnote, there is no enthusiasm for them as they were and the talk is still of the idea of a wading bird sanctuary, to be discussing the flooding and to be told to ‘look over there’ at a 6inch deep lake/puddle with a few hundred birds on it’s edge and ‘realise’ what a ‘fabulous and magnificent sight’ that is, is galling, infuriating actually.

    If I was a home owner on that Moor I’d have drowned that person there and then, I’d be under arrest.

    Kiss the Moors goodbye, we are being dictated to by idiots.

    I share your anger and despair, but the Levels are merely the beginning.

    When the power stations are shut the country will be shut when the wind is not blowing or is blowing too strong for the windfarms to operate.

    The dictation is not by “idiots”: we are being governed by adherents to an evil ideology which sees a bird sanctuary as more valuable than the homes of hundreds of families.

    Richard

  190. Corporal Jones Ghost

    Do you know what size pumps where in the ROF buildings as comments have been made that the buildings are rather small. I could understand if the pumps where steam but finding actual data is proving difficult.

  191. Corporal Jones’ Ghost:

    As I have suggested above, the mismanagement of the KSD extends over its whole length as well as the feeds to it.

    As far as I can tell, after BR flogged off the Wharf, they were allowed to reduce the exit to the sea by extending the dock and someone allowed a farm access road to infill 1/4 of the width and no-one has bothered to dredge that last few hundred meters before the sea exit.

    This mean that the last few hundred meters of the KSD probably account for the majority of the drop to the sea! It is like having a flat road all the way to the coast and the all the downhill is in the last few hundred meters!

    Why are we not surprised that the KSD doesn’t drain that well.

    It was always thus. The KSD is neglected until such time as we have a big flood and the it gets some care and attention for a few years,dredged, etc. Has been like this almost since it was first built!

  192. Just like the insane, these people are deaf to reason, and blind to the glaringly obvious.

    So they aren’t ‘just like’ the insane.

    They actually are insane.

    Was the closing of the Mental Hospitals and ‘Care in the Community’, actually a recruiting drive?

  193. I have been following this thread with total fascination, having lived on the Moors for most of my adult life, and until now never really appreciated just how involved the management of the area really was.
    Of course, I knew the moors and levels are a completely artificial environment, carefully maintained this way for centuries. I also knew that the Huntspill and KSD had been created to provide a water supply for the munitions factory at Woolavington (but not so recently, I would have guessed early 19th century). But I had no idea of the volumes of water used, or the pipeline over/around the Poldens – I’ve driven past the pumping house by Crandon bridge hundreds of times and noticed the BAE Systems sign but never put two and two together.
    If you’re still following this thread, Corporal Jones’ Ghost, I have a couple of questions/observations:
    1. If water flows freely under the Poldens (A39 ridge), why was there a need to pump water over them from the KSD? Was it to provide two independent water supplies (in the event of the sluices on the Hunstpill being destroyed) or was it because the South Drain/Cripps River couldn’t provide enough water on their own?
    2. Could the bottleneck at the western end of the KSD be there deliberately to increase the speed of flow through it, encouraging scouring and preventing the build up of silt in front of the sluices?
    3. It seems to me that the Huntspill and the KSD from the M5 at least as far as Peachey Bridge should be cnsidered as ‘linear’ reservoirs, just as much as drainage channels. I don’t know the Hunspill very well but the level in the KSD seems to vary considerably, suggesting it is acting as a buffer. A couple of weeks ago (after the floods began but before the Dutch pumps arrived) I walked from Peachy Bridge to Bawdrip and back. At the start of my walk the KSD was completely full, lapping over onto the footpath but by the time I returned (about one hour later) the level had dropped by about 2 ft. I imagine this was as a result of the tide falling, allowing the water out through the Dunball Clyse. It certainly seemed to me that the KSD was functioning as designed.
    4. The fact that the worst affected area (downstream of Langport at least) seems to be west of the Tone and south of the Parrett suggests to me that the River Sowy hasn’t been doing its job (either through a deliberate decision not to open the Monk’s Leaze Clyse sooner or inadequate flow through it), namely to divert some of the flow in the Parrett into the KSD. That would have reduced the flow in the Parrett at Burrowbridge, where it is joined by the Tone. Is this a reasonable assessment or am I over-simplifying things?
    5. On the KSD between Peachey Bridge and Bawdrip there are two very large wooden posts, one on either side of a small rhyne that joins the KSD. Each post is surrounded by four ‘benches’ arranged in a cruciform shape and the footpath takes a little detour around the whole arrangement. Do you have any idea of the purpose of these posts? Were they anything to do with the work undertaken by the ROF?
    Finally a thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread, for educating me.

  194. renewablejohn:

    As the Huntspill River (which is the supply to the factory site) is some 2 meters above its feedstock from the South Drain and pumped up to that level by the Gold Corner pumps I am not sure how anything to do with the factory or its drainage is part of the problem. That area around the GC pump inlets is one of the few ‘dry’ spots on the map.

    Almost all of the flooding is around the River Parret and the KSD. In places that are very far away upstream from the factory area you are discussing.

  195. RichardLH

    The KSD is a pinchpoint on the alternate drainage of the Parrett. Learning from history it appears to have a pumped outlet at Westonzoyland onto the Parrett and a pumped outlet to the Huntspill via the ROF site. Obviously even if you could reconnect the Westonzoyland site there would be no point until the capacity of the Parrett was increased by dredging. However the Huntspill is a different matter with huge capacity and the redevelopment of the ROF site being at the planning stage. A robust upgrade of the pumping capacity between the KSD and Huntspill should be sort as a S106 agreement for development of the site as well as maintaining the existing drainage systems on the site to cope with any additional drainage capacity required for the development.

  196. renewablejohn

    The seaward outlet of the KSD has been considerably neglected as I mentioned above. Almost all of the ‘drop’ to outlet levels is in the last few hundred meters. This is hardly a sensible state of affairs. There are images which clearly show that the width of the outlet has been decreased since BR flogged off the wharf. An access road has been allowed to spill into the KSD itself at the very point that it should be as wide as possible. The amount of drop can be seen in the image I supplied above which was BEFORE the pumps at Dunball Cycle were switched on and there is what can only be described as a shallow rapid from the A34 onwards.

    The KSD has always suffered, as do all of the man made rivers including the Huntspill, from the peat in the base rising up to block the channel. This has always been the case. Look through the history books if you do not believe me. IN fact one of the reasons that the Huntspill is so shallow is precisely because of that problem.

    http://somersetrivers.org/index.php?module=Content&func=view&pid=17

    “The initial design was for a channel depth of 25 feet to allow a gravitational feed from the South Drain. Unfortunately the spoil from the excavations was too heavy for the peat subsoil and pushed the banks back into the channel. A new scheme was devised with a 16 foot deep channel which required water from the South Drain to be pumped into the channel.”

  197. Prospective 8 Km of dredging from Rivers Tone /Parrett intersect (when banks are suitably dry) to ‘The Somerset’ rail bridge near M5 motorway.
    I reckon the Parrett has an average width – measured to the ‘green’ bank edges of about 12.5 metres, if we consider the banks as being vertical (they are not), with 1 metre extra depth dredged, then we have less than an extra cross sectional area of 12.5 square metres. 8,000 metres of this creates less than 100,000 tonnes extra capacity. Enough to fill a circular area of approx’ 179 metres radius to a depth of 1 metre. same as 10 hectares or 27.4 acres… Not a lot when one considers 179 m radius, much less the amount of flooding we see on the levels.

    It was said one group of the Dutch pumps could / were pumping 15 tonnes a second, so that would be 100,000 tonnes in less than 2 hours (at £200,000 per week in fuel costs !!) to pump the prospective extra water in the Parrett.

    Once again ‘Yer tis’ http://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurefloods-on-the-somerset-levels-a-sad-tale-of-ignorance-and-neglect-4172602/

    Pip

  198. Pip Sant

    But your calculations don’t take into account the flow of the river. Surely it’s not simply storing that extra volume of water, it’s transporting it out to sea. If you assume a mean flow of 1m/s (for easy arithmetic, I don’t know how accurate that is – being tidal it will vary significantly) and taking your additional cross-sectional area of 12.5m^2, that means an additional 12.5m^3 of water is flowing out to sea, not far off what the pumps you mention are achieving.

  199. I agree with regard to flow.
    But a gut feeling says a square of 312 metre length of side by 1 metre deep contains near enough 100,000 m³ or tonnes of water just isn’t going to make a vast difference compared to the vast amount flooding the land.
    The EA website reports :-
    ‘Over 65 pumps, including those imported from the Netherlands, are working to pump millions of tonnes of water off the levels every day.’ and that on top of the normal use of outflows to the Severn.
    Surely extra depth right now would mean deeper river and not much else.

    BTW. only 8Km to be dredged from Tone intersect to Somerset Rail Bridge beside the M5.

    We have a massive problem with no easy answers.

    Pip

  200. Dunball Wharf/Clyce

    What it used to look like

    What it looks like today (with the pumps off!)

    See all that white water and ripples inland. That is down to poor maintenance (including allowing an access road to fill in part of the KSD) and lack of dredging.

    A few hundred meters of dredging and maintenance would improve the flow to sea more than just a little.

    And that is just one part, the rest upstream and on the levels is in no better state (as your article notes).

  201. There’s also the question of what you do with the 100 000 m^3 of silt you’ve just removed from the river. It the old days it would have gone on top of the banks or been spread on the adjoining fields but you can’t do that anymore. Also, given that dredging simply shifts the problem downstream, it could get wet just to the north of Jn 25. Makes you realize that the system Cpl Jones’ Ghost explained, of getting the water flow to do the hard work for you by scouring, had its advantages. Minimal disturbance to the wildlife and no spoil to dispose of

  202. Agincourt: As it is mud which the Serve Estuary has in a rather great abundance I suspect you could just drop it offshore in the deepest channels and it would be redistributed again by morning!

    As I am a great believer of using scour and the tides to do the work of pumping and silt removal ala Mont Saint Michel I can only agree, but we do rather need to get it all sorted out first for it to work properly. Some immediate work on the seaward end of the KSD would be a great start. And cleaning all the ditches, rhynes, etc. would also be very, very useful.

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