Having spent much of last week talking to people whose homes have been damaged by flooding I have been reminded of the awful devastation caused by floods.   Even the smallest trickle of water can destroy treasured personal possessions.   Many people don’t realise that the water that flows into your airbricks and under your front door often contains raw, untreated sewage.

During heavy rain the sewerage system backs up causing polluted water to mix with the rain water.   News footage often shows children playing in the flood waters – I’d urge you never to walk through flood water unless it is to escape.   As well as being polluted you have no idea what could be hidden underneath the water.   The force of water in the drainage network can be so strong that manhole covers are lifted leaving an uncovered drain already full of fast flowing water.

Next week is National Flood Risk Awareness Week which encourages people to consider their flood risk and to raise awareness of the impact of flooding on homes and businesses.   You may assume that as you don’t live close to a river you are not at risk of flooding but that is a common mistake.   Surface water flooding, where rain water can’t drain away fast enough during heavy rainstorms, is often unlinked to river flooding.   The Environment Agency website can identify if your home is at risk from river or coastal flooding but surface water flooding is harder to check.   If anyone knows of a free website that records surface water flooding I’d be very interested to hear.

The National Flood Forum website provides useful information for those at risk of flooding as well as supporting communities dealing with the impact of floods.