Rivers have four banks, so it’s been explained to me: the two for normal flow, and two for the flood flow. That’s why it’s stupid to build in a flood plain, because you’re building in a river bed.
There’s only one small problem with that argument – there are an awful lot of towns and cities that have been built on flood plains. That point is all too obvious around Worcester at the moment.
Over the centuries, the river bed has been engineered to reduce the likelihood of flooding… but the succession of rainstorms over the last few weeks have tested this engineering beyond its limits. I wonder when it was last dredged?!
Since the photo above, the river has risen further and spilled into Hylton Road, cutting off St John’s from the rest of Worcester. It’s much more spectacular than I realised!
While the city has only recently been flooded, the fields to the south of the city have been flooded for most of the winter. The picture below, from a week ago, is similar to one I took on Christmas Day as I was driving to Cheltenham.
Since I put the first version of this post, a couple of friends with more experience of river engineering than I have made a couple of insightful comments on the dredging theme. Chris Ponsford wrote on my Facebook wall:
No dredging recently, Richard, but it was only ever dredged for navigational purposes. I remain very sceptical that it would make much difference with the ridiculous levels of rainfall over such a long period. I am no expert on such matters, but our proper experts in such things certainly are not advocating it, but concentrating on more defences which have saved countless homes in the last few events since 2007.