Flood risk management authorities continue to support lowland communities during coronavirus pandemic

Flood risk management authorities continue to support lowland communities during coronavirus pandemic

ADA has set out recommendations in line with Government guidelines to ensure that the landscape and rural communities remain defended during this national emergency.

In an unprecedented time, when the health, safety and wellbeing of the public is paramount, communities are being reassured that critical assets and operations to reduce flood risk and manage water levels will continue to be managed in a safe, secure and effective way.

ADA, the membership organisation for water level and flood risk management authorities throughout the UK, has been maintaining regular contact with the Environment Agency, internal drainage boards (IDBs) and other members during the coronavirus (COVID-19) national emergency.

ADA has agreed a series of recommendations for its members in line with Government advice. In particular, these aim to support the essential role that IDBs are playing in keeping watercourses flowing in our lowland landscape at this difficult time, in order to reduce flood risk, and maintain water resources and the water environment.

Understandably, the focus in the current circumstances will be on those parts of their systems that are most important and urgent. The recommendations encourage a proportionate and flexible approach by authorities, with officers working from home and utilising virtual meetings where possible. For their workforce and operational partners, taking steps to maximise physical distancing when they are out on the ground maintaining and inspecting watercourses and assets. Operational teams undertaking essential services have been designated key workers and will be adhering to the latest Government public health advice.

“IDBs, local authorities and the Environment Agency provide an essential public service by ensuring pumps, sluices and other critical flood defence assets remain up and running, which protect people, property, infrastructure and farmland,” explains ADA chief executive Innes Thomson.

“First and foremost, our number one priority is of course, protecting public health, including that of our valued water management teams,” he adds. “We have advised on a number of guidelines to reduce the risks to key teams and individual staff, while allowing water managers to provide these essential services to the public.”

Further information about your local IDB, the Environment Agency and local authorities can be found at www.ada.org.uk.