'We are not going to win a war against water' - Call for more focus on resilience methods to recover from flooding

0
Have your say

Regardless of how many flood defences are built and how much money is given towards flood prevention, Yorkshire is going to have to become more resilient, according to two flooding experts.

Simon Waller, Director at JBA Risk and Professor Daniel Parsons, Director at the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute agreed that although more steps could be taken to keep flood waters at bay, making the aftermath easier was just as important.

Flooding in Brighouse after storm Ciara hit Calderdale on February 2020. Photo: Steven Lord

Flooding in Brighouse after storm Ciara hit Calderdale on February 2020. Photo: Steven Lord

Professor Parsons said: “It’s all very good being able to predict it, but we are not going to win a war against water, there’s no chance.

“At some point we will flood.”

Mr Waller said the real way to protect against flooding was not really to try and stop the water but to attempt to put measures in place to get up and running more quickly, pointing to The Book Case in Hebden Bridge which, thanks to resilience methods, was back up and running the next day.

He said: “These people are making themselves resilient to flooding, you can make a huge difference if you can make your house more resilient.

“I’ve heard of people out of their homes for a year, it’s very very hard to cope with. That disruption is as bad as the flood itself.

“I would love to see a greater investment in resilience and improvement of properties so we turn many months into days.”

Changes include kitchen units which are easily recovered and thinking about alternative flooring.

“All the Environment Agency can do is operate within the constraints they have,” Prof Parsons added. “So what we’ve got to do is fight smarter.

“The trouble is the way it works and how the insurance industry is set up at the moment is people can only replace like for like, so they have to have their own capital to make these upgrades. And many people in flood-prone areas do not have those resources.”