Sitting down over the Christmas holidays
watching the terrible scenes of flooding across the UK made many of us realise how lucky we are not to live in a floodplain. As our facebook feeds filled up with affected friends and family, telling us of their difficulties dealing with the rising water, we could sit back in our lovely dry living rooms and help ourselves to another mince pie and cup of tea.
There are some things we can all do to help reduce the risks, extent or severity of future flooding.
1. Make your drives and patios porous so they don't add to surface water run-off
You do not need planning permission to lay a permeable (or porous) drive as this is permitted development. You do need planning permission to lay a traditional non-porous driveway.
Examples of porous materials are: gravel, reinforced grass, specially laid block paving, and permeable asphalt, concrete or resin bonded aggregate.
Alternatively you can drain to a soakaway so that the water will soak into the ground nearby.
You can find more information in this government guidance document.
2. Fit water butts to your rainwater downpipes to slow water flow
This is a simple example of rainwater harvesting and easy to retrofit. You can then use the water stored in the water butt to water your garden or wash your car and windows.
There are many rainwater harvesting techniques, which can give you a store of water to flush toilets, wash clothes and for other non-potable needs. These can also reduce your water use costs. The options vary in complexity and ease of retrofit for existing houses.
We have a focus on sustainable design and can advise on ways to both save water in use and by rainwater harvesting, along with other energy efficiency measures.
You can book an i-architect Home Design Consultation to discuss your options.
3. Plant trees and thirsty plants
Landscaping your garden can help, both in flood risk areas to direct water and floating debris away, and in other areas to control wet areas and flow. There are many ways to use landscape to control water, such as creating a rain garden with wet-tolerant planting, an area of lower ground which fills up during wet weather and dries out during a (hopefully) sunny summer.
Trees are especially good at taking up water with some mature trees taking 50-100 gallons a day. If the ground is often very wet then you need to use trees and plants that won't die when roots stay wet for extended periods.
Be careful to plant trees that are sized appropriately to your garden and placed where they will not cause damage to foundations and drains.
What actions will you be taking to stabilise the water table in your area?