I have no doubt I was not the only one driving to work today thinking about how much surface water there was on the road, and how every roadside grid seems to be overflowing.
The weekend had witnessed the first major storm of the winter and what a storm – 80 miles per hour winds, trees strewn across roads and fields, and general debris everywhere. The scenes in Cumbria and further north into Scotland were truly shocking.
This is what we could see as the aftermath of the storms; but what level of damage had been done which was invisible to us?
There is little doubt that the impact of the storm on the serviceability of our drains would be significant; the scale of damage on the surface would be replicated below ground with blockages in the pipes caused by debris seriously restricting the flow and the dispersal of rain water through the network of pipes. The resultant flooding above ground was testimony to the fact.
But the real damage is not caused by the storms themselves, it is caused by the drain and sewer networks not being properly and proactively monitored over the course of the year.
While nobody can seriously predict storms, their severity, or the damage they will cause to our underground pipe systems, we can all play a part in ensuring that before they arrive the networks are clear and the pipes fully serviceable – then the storms cannot cause the level of damage they have done this time.
It seems apt that with the global climate change summit taking place in Paris this week the weekend’s weather is a stark reminder that long term action is required – and that day to day activity to maintain the serviceability of our pipe networks must be carried out as efficiently as is technically and scientifically possible.