Thousands of homes protected from flooding in West Sussex

JPCT 070114 S14021174x Pulborough floods -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120140701153331
JPCT 070114 S14021174x Pulborough floods -photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120140701153331

Thousands of homes have been protected from flooding in West Sussex due to investment in drainage and environmental infrastructure.

Operation Watershed was started by West Sussex County Council following record levels of rainfall in the summer of 2012, and gave residents the opportunity to bid for money towards projects to protect their communities against flooding.

Since it started £2.35m has been allocated to 287 projects across the county, with ditch clearing, digging new drainage channels, and repairing pipes and culverts the most common.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Communities we’ve worked with have been overwhelmingly positive.

“Flooding is reducing at locations which flooded before.

“People feel safer and better prepared for the next time heavy rain arrives.”

The authority is currently auditing the 80 schemes it assisted last year to check they are working.

Mrs Goldsmith added: “Operation Watershed has helped communities to help themselves.

“We took care to make sure funds were distributed fairly.

“West Sussex is now a much more resilient place than it was in 2013.”

National flooding charity the National Flood Forum endorsed the scheme.

Paul Cobbing, chief executive of the forum, said: “Operation Watershed helped communities affected by flooding.

“It also helped those who may not have been affected but were still at risk.

“It supported many communities to do practical things to reduce flood risk and prepare for future events.

“It’s a model we would love to see implemented in other places.”

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