Never flooded before!

Cause or Solution?: 
Solutions to flooding
Question: 
We have always been aware of the Calder and were not complacent. We have never been flooded before. 3 years ago the river came onto the back garden but was well short of our bungalow. On Boxing Day 2015 we had an Environment Agency warning at 4:30 am. We went to the bottom of the back garden to assess the situation. The Calder flows about 8 or 9 feet below the edge of our rear garden. At this time it was about 3 feet below the rim. I must stress that this is about normal following so much rain over a long period. At 6 am I checked again. The Calder had not risen in that 90 minutes. At 8 am a neighbour knocked on our door. He said that we needed to move our cars. I told him that the river was not even on the garden. He said that it was coming from the canal and that Tillotson Holme was covered with flood water and rising. A few weeks ago I had placed sandbags along the bottom of my garden just to give the river a bit more to get over. These sandbags were now blocking the water from the canal which trying to flow into the river down our garden. The river was still a couple of feet below the garden rim. After taking our cars onto Station Road, on return the water was pouring through the canal bank retaining wall at a fair rate in several points. We made sure all our neighbours were alerted [ it was Boxing Day morning!]. We packed what we could carry in large bags and set off walking and paddling on Tillotson Holme. The water was entering our homes now. This was before 10 am. Our neighbours behind the Brandy Wine pub were trying to build a dam across the tow path to stop the canal water running down into their homes. They too had perceived that any threat would come from the River Calder at the rear of their homes. Our homes were flooded to a height of over 2 feet. We drove to our son's house at Friendly where a shower and dry clothing were very welcome. After a couple of weeks we eventually secured a rented house in Friendly. I do not offer solutions. There are plenty of experts including the Environment Agency chap who told us that the river level readings that morning at Luddenden Foot were "insignificant." We have been told that "someone" in an attempt to prevent their units being inundated opened the sluice gates on the Brearley Lock. The next lock is Tuel Lock at Sowerby Bridge. Water was pouring over the top of Tuel Lock gates not long after this. The main road through S/Bridge was flooded in front of Post Office and Jones TV shop. It does not usually flood there! Regarding solutions: why do we not allow the Calder to flood the playing fields at Brearley. It currently tries to but only a small amount of water which we do nothing about pumping back into river after the emergency is over. I think that the water could also be allowed to flood Holmes Park at Hebden Bridge and be pumped back later. This would not cost £26 000 000 and the public would see something tangible being done rather than promises of grandiose schemes.
Question for which agency?: 
Canal and River Trust: were the sluices opened at Brearley?
Name of Watercourse Referred To: 
Rochdale Canal
Location of Cause or Solution: 
Supporting Image: 

Comments

Ultimately the canal and Calder joined and flowed down our gardens and lane. Initially the water came from the Rochdale Canal. Why when it is self leveling and the Calder was not flooding at Luddenden Foot??

John - I think this really interesting description will be helped if you could identify your location more precisely. Would you like to do that and if you want to provide your postcode - in a reply to this comment?

Thanks - Anthony Rae

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Question Reference: 
72
Category: 
Canal
Natural Flood Management
Role of Organisations
Asked By: 
John
Armitage