Chew Magna residents at risk of flooding will get rapid river level alerts thanks to a new state-of-the-art solar-powered river gauge funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council and Chew Magna Parish Council.
The parish council has been awarded £500 from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Ward Councillor Empowerment Fund which will help towards the cost of implementing a gauge in the River Chew to help with flood defences.
During bad weather conditions the River Chew currently has to undergo regular visual checks by the Volunteer Warden Team who often go out during storms and through the night in the dark. The wardens protect residents from property flooding, get flood boards up in good time and manage road flooding by putting up signs or barriers.
The new river gauge means the levels can be accessed remotely with alerts being sent out via mobile phones to the wardens. It also enables housing association Curo, the heads of Chew Valley and Chew Magna Primary Schools, Flood Wardens in Stanton Drew, Pensford and other villages along the river and Keynsham to be alerted to the level and rate of rise in water. In addition external agencies, such as the Environment Agency, can also monitor the levels and act in a timely manner to prevent flooding.
Councillor Karen Warrington (Chew Valley Ward), who contributed £500 from her ward councillor allocation, said: “This device has been successful on the Winford Brook and so it makes sense to have it for the River Chew. The issue of flooding causes great anxiety in my ward and in other areas along the river. Our volunteer flood wardens do great work, for which the community is very grateful, and this will be a tremendous asset to them. The new river gauge will limit the amount of time they have to be out in poor weather conditions visually checking the rise of the river.”
Councillor David Wood, cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services, added: “Bath and North East Somerset Council installed a telemetry device in Winford Brook three years ago and it has made a huge difference to both residents and wardens. This is a great example of how the Ward Councillor Empowerment Fund can make a big impact locally.”
The Ward Councillor Empowerment fund has been set up to provide every ward councillor with a one-off sum to help address concerns or needs in their local communities with the ward councillors working with residents, community and voluntary organisations, parish and town councils to allocate funding to projects that help improve the lives of local people.
For more details about the fund go to https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/neighbourhoods-and-community-safety/connecting-communities/ward-councillors-empowerment