A one-day event aimed at empowering communities to deal with flooding, drought and water conservation took place at Pulborough on Saturday July 19.
Communities Matter hosted the Water Matters event on behalf of the Arun and Rother Connections Project (ARC).
Experts met with members of the Pulborough community to discuss how they can work together more effectively. More than 60 people attended, and the café offering free tea, coffee and cakes was popular.
“It was good to learn who to approach about drainage issues as there are so many different agencies it gets confusing,” said Jane, a Pulborough resident
“Being new to the area there was useful information about localised flooding from The Environment Agency,” said Carrie, a Pulborough resident.
Southern Water’s waterwise team also had a stand at the event and was providing information and free devices such as shower timers and fat traps (to prevent fat, oil and grease being poured down drains).
The Pulborough Angling club had a stand at the event. One of their members suggested a tree-planting project on the Rother banks and potential interviewee for the Arun and Rother Council’s oral history project. The club hopes to help deliver the ARC angling taster sessions.
Improvements to the trail between Pulborough village and the RSPB nature reserve were also suggested.
Children from the area also attended. Debbie, who lives in Pulborough said: “It was great to be able to talk to an expert in the field about these issues, and it provided a good education for the kids in a pleasant environment. Nice cakes too!”
A potential area for the construction of one of the four ARC Rain Gardens (a planted depression for storing rainwater) was identified during the event.
Rachel Carless, ARC project manager, said: “I enjoyed talking to a wide range of people on the day and several areas of potential collaboration with community members and local groups were identified.
“I am particularly excited about exploring the potential to build the third ARC rain garden at a site we identified in the heart of Pulborough village. The project should benefit from some really excellent local knowledge and expertise”
Nigel Greenwood, Director of Communities Matter said: “Water is hugely important for us all and almost one third of energy costs in this country relate to the way we use water.
“This first Water Matters Event has been very successful and a further step towards getting more people to think about how they can enjoy the rivers and wetlands around Pulborough, how they can cope with flooding, and also contribute towards better management of water by thinking about the way they use this valuable resource in their own homes and gardens.”
A survey was distributed to local residents prior and during the event to capture opinions about a range of water issues. The results are being analysed and a report will be produced which will help the ARC partnership to understand priorities in the area.
Please contact Info@communitiesmatter.org.uk for more information.
Report and picture contributed by RSPB.