Fresh Look at Water Level and Flood Risk Management

It is time for the next government to take a fresh look at water level and flood risk management, urges the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA).

Getting the industry voice heard both during the election campaign and after a new government is formed is the focus for ADA, as it continues to stress the value of drainage, water level and flood risk management for the social, economic and environmental health of the country.

ADA chairman, Henry Cator

ADA chairman, Henry Cator

Having launched its own seven-point manifesto plan as an immediate response to the general election announcement, ADA has been engaging with prospective parliamentary candidates and manifesto writers to ensure water management stays at the forefront of future policies.

“Whatever happens, government will take a fresh look at things for the next parliament,” explains ADA chairman, Henry Cator.

“If we ignore the good management of water, our social and environmental fabric collapses and our economy would significantly shrink. It is entirely understandable that our politicians look at the subjects uppermost in peoples’ minds such as health, education and welfare but without the basic investment in water, infrastructure and energy, everything else fails.”

ADA’s seven key policy pointers include the promotion of co-operation and partnership working to manage the water environment, and the support of local governance in flood and water level management decision making.

Innes Thomson, ADA’s chief executive adds, “We have continued our efforts in this important time to make our industry voice heard in amongst all the other important issues needing some political attention.

“Whatever the situation after 8 June, ADA will continue to focus on delivering our business plan objectives. Our progress on five pilot projects to transfer operations from the Environment Agency (EA) to Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) on certain stretches of river, for example, will be slowed slightly, but there is not expected to be a change on what we all want to achieve from this.”

Despite the general election, work has continued behind the scenes to prepare the way for the five operational pilots to progress. The pilots will see the careful transfer of some main river maintenance from the Environment Agency to local IDBs.

ADA has been working closely with Defra, the Environment Agency, IDBs and other bodies on these pilots. The projects are taking place in areas where there is an appetite for greater local maintenance delivery on watercourses and flood defence assets than that currently afforded from national investment.

“By working closely with our local partners to show our national policy makers how we can do things differently in our catchment and sub-catchment areas, for the benefit of a wider tranche of local people, I am confident that many more projects will be up for consideration in the future,” continues Mr Cator.

As the representative body for drainage, water level and flood-risk management authorities, ADA is ready to support the next government in managing and maintaining the water systems to the environmental and engineering standards expected by local people, communities and businesses.

“The recent dry spell acts as a timely reminder that drought and the resilience of our water supplies are every bit as vital to our infrastructure as protection from flooding. Water level management is key in our ability to control events rather than only being able to react in a crisis,” concludes Mr Cator.


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