Robert Runcie, the Environment Agency's director of flood and coastal risk management, said the investment in flood defences will need to almost doubled to 1bn a year by 2035 to keep pace with climate change. Set against the backdrop of Britain's poor finances, this is a lot of money, but compared to the events of three years ago, which cost 13 lives, an estimated 3.2bn and visited an immeasurable toll of personal tragedies, it is a less daunting figure.
The simple truth is that there can be no penny spared in the fight against flooding. The damage wreaked upon West Cumbria, only in November, tells a torrid tale of what water can do.
Ministers must take the question of flood defences outside the to-and-fro of everyday politics and give it the money it deserves. Anything less, and we will all pay the price for generations to come.