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Drainage map aims to beat floods

Work on the first ever digital drainage map in Britain is underway in Gloucestershire.

Engineers from Gloucestershire Highways’ drainage team, working with contractor 365 Environmental Services, are collecting and storing data on the location, route and condition of the county’s drainage systems. The data is then recorded on a specially-designed digital system, the first of its type in the country.

The digital system will mean potential drainage problems can be identified and rectified before they cause serious problems. The data will be used to help Gloucestershire Highways plan works, targeting the right areas at the right time, to reduce flood risk and ensure value for money for Gloucestershire residents.

Data is being collected initially from known flooding hotspots and is completed in kilometre square areas.

The first kilometre square was completed in five weeks, covering 8,500m of highway. The work identified nine areas of the system which needed further attention. These areas have now been prioritised for cleansing and remedial work.

So far data has been collected from five kilometre squares in Gloucester, including parts of Hucclecote, Barnwood, Abbeymead, Saintbridge, Tredworth and Barton. Work in the city is expected to be complete by May 2011.

Work began last week (Tuesday 4th May) on collecting data for Cheltenham, initially in Leckhampton. Work in Cheltenham will take a year.

Contractors from 365 Environmental Services locate all drainage assets – gullies, catch pits, chambers and manholes – within the identified square using GPS before recording them digitally.

Cllr Stan Waddington, Cabinet member for environment, said: “This innovative system will allow Gloucestershire Highways to have a better understanding of the county’s drainage systems. Targeting work once the data is collected will contribute towards the county council’s goal of ensuring Gloucestershire people are less likely to suffer the devastation they suffered in July 2007.”

The work has already received interest from other councils and the National Assembly for Wales. Senior drainage engineer, Gareth Toft, has also spoken about the work at a number of conferences.

The project started before the requirements of the Flood and Water Management Act came in.

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