It’s back to school for a water company’s workforce as they seek to cut the risk of flooding in the North East.
Northumbrian Water has launched a pilot scheme to reduce the amount of surface water from entering the sewer network.
A detailed drainage area study has identified areas from across the region that are at risk of flooding and would benefit from surface water measures.
School sites are the focus as they have large areas of impermeable surfaces which surround school buildings.
The first school to take part in the scheme is Woodhouse Community Primary School in Bishop Auckland in County Durham.
Working in partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Northumbrian Water has created a rain garden and sustainable drainage system at the school, which includes raised wetland planted beds, a water butt, swale (grassy ditch), bog garden, wildlife pond and wildflower areas.
The pond is in an area where children can be supervised.
Surface water will be diverted to the garden from various areas within the school grounds to prevent it from entering the sewer network.
Northumbrian Water’s project manager for the scheme, Elaine Smith, said: “Reducing the risk of flooding to homes and businesses, and being prepared for the future as rainfall patterns intensify and change, are top priorities for us.
“Removing surface water from our sewer pipes means the risk of flooding will be reduced. The educational benefits are also very significant.”
The trust has developed an educational programme linked to the garden which will teach children about the water cycle, the causes of flooding, sustainable flood solutions, the differences between and impact of impermeable and permeable surfaces and the role and importance of wetland habitats.
The trust’s Laura Tedstone said: “This is such an exciting project to be involved in as it will give the children a great opportunity to learn so much in a fun and very interactive way. This project captures what is really important to us – being sustainable, creating wetland habitat - and providing an opportunity for children to learn about and develop a connection with nature.”
Northumbrian Water is also currently working with Collingwood Primary School in North Shields and Abbeyfields School in Morpeth.