ARCHIVE: West Garforth pilot summary
Local authority: Leeds city council
The West Garforth Drainage Area has a long history of flooding problems, going back to the 1980s and earlier. Many properties were flooded internally in June 2007, during the project period. The backbone of the drainage infrastructure is a system of inadequate culverted watercourses, passing through hundreds of private properties.
This IUD pilot project was carried out by a partnership involving Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and the Pennine Water Group (Bradford and Sheffield Universities). The fundamental aim is to examine a range of approaches to develop more integrated urban drainage management, including examples of best practice in both technical terms and stakeholder collaboration. It also aims to see whether closer collaboration between agencies could identify innovative and feasible solutions, despite perceived regulatory difficulties.
Shared record data, along with supplementary surveys, was used to build a computer model of the surface water drainage and the model was verified by use of observational data from a new short-term flow survey, along with historic data. Engagement with the residents by means of newsletters and two public meetings also produced a wealth of incident data as well as proposals for remedial measures.
The report shows that, as soon as serious resources are made available for investigating flooding problems and inspecting the condition of culverted watercourses, then opportunities for relatively modest actions become apparent that can have a significant beneficial impact.
A significant number of the blockages in culverts and highway drains were caused by services severing them. This is probably a result of the absence of any statutory record of culverts and highway drains that undertakers must consult.
Modelling was used to predict changes in future flood risk due to climate change. Future rainfall predictions indicated that flood volumes, from a rainfall event with a 30 year return period, would have increased in this catchment by around 50%, by 2085. Flooding would also become more widespread, especially in the south eastern part of the study area.
The report describes a number of technically feasible options for reducing flood frequencies, but highlights a number of significant regulatory barriers that are preventing key partners from fully engaging with the promotion of solutions to the flooding problems.
Recommendations for the future of urban drainage systems are made, based on the practical findings made in this study.
An action plan is proposed, based on the lessons learned in this project, with a view to securing positive actions by all stakeholders that will reduce flood risk.
Page last modified: 25 June 2008
Page published: 5 March 2007