Valley residents are well aware of the effects of heavy rain when water and soil runoff of the land and rivers rise in the blink of an eye.
On 20th July Simon Browning, our catchment advisor, gave a zoom presentation explaining how he had identified areas in the valley where run off, would be especially copious after a deluge.
The process involves obtaining data from various sources and overlaying the information. The overlays include elevation data from remote sensing. Contour lines can be added. This is combined with data on predicted rainfall. High runoff areas are identified on the assumption that the ground is already waterlogged and are indicated in dark red on the map. In addition, the Environment Agency’s risk of flooding from surface water areas [purple on the map] were also used. The result is the SCIMAP [Sensitive Catchment Integrated Modeling and Prediction] as shown below.
Sid and Bickwell Brook catchments SCIMAP [With thanks to Dr Sim Reaney at Durham University who developed this and has ensured it is free for us to use.]
125 runoff hot spots have been identified in the valley [5 are in the Bickwell Brook catchment] presenting many opportunities for small projects which in the long term might lessen the impact of heavy rain and keep water on the land for longer which is good in both wet and dry conditions. With the agreement of landowners, Simon will visit and advise on measures which might slow the rate at which water leaves the land. Some hot spots are in urban areas so additional water storage, rain gardens and ponds can also make a difference. This is a long term community enterprise with multiple benefits, including improving biodiversity, protecting aquatic life and helping us to be more able to cope with extreme weather which accompanies global warming.
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