Water World, Water Works and a Whole Load of Untreated Shit

only yesterday (dailymail.com)
only yesterday (dailymail.com)

If only it were a movie. Kevin Costner sic-fied up in a block busting tale of global warming, strong arm tactics and life in the future seems like an easy sit through now. By comparison us residents of England lucky enough to live atop a hill, away from a river, the sea or a tidal inlet can watch our own futuristic disaster unfold from our Roche Bobois sofas and La-Z-Boy armchairs. We can top up our glasses of sav blanc and pop out for a quick wee in the ad breaks. We can even flush our loos. Others unfortunately, cannot. Their fridges are floating unfilled. Our flush is their contamination.

While Los Angeles suffers a drought and the Eastern Seaboard struggles under wave after wave of snow and ice, this side of the pond is enduring a mild, wet winter. Put like that it sounds quite beneficent, doesn’t it? Spring is indeed sprung in my Chiltern garden.

hello my pretty (mrscarmichael)
hello my pretties (mrscarmichael)

But less than twenty miles from my houses, cars, furniture and lives are underwater. The Thames has burst its banks. Wraysbury, Dachet and surrounds are flooded. The fire service is evacuating residents. The army is on standby. People are fighting over sandbags in desperate desire to save their homes. Railway stations are closed. People can’t get to work. Last night people couldn’t get home from work because the mainline out of Paddington had to stop operations. Sewerage is oozing up through floorboards and folks are getting ill.

Some residents believe they have been scapegoated to save the upmarket Eton and Windsor’s gin and Jag brigade. Even if HRH’s castle is on a hill one can’t be too careful can one?

More rain is predicted and with it, more flooding.

pretty much covers it (Met Office site)
pretty much covers it (Met Office site)

It’s hard to believe that there are some in England who have been suffering the same fate for the past two months. I kid you not.

It all began around Christmas Day for many residents of the Somerset Levels. Storms cut their electricity and many were not reconnected for weeks. Then the waters rose. And rose and they are still rising.

bucolic beauty think-differently-about-sheep.com)
bucolic beauty (think-differently-about-sheep.com)

Here, on a good day, is a thing of beauty. Farmers farm, ramblers, ramble, the Glastonbury Festival is beamed to millions across the globe and villages are picture postcard perfect.

The Levels is an area of special protection due to plant and birdlife; its biodiversity of international import.

Here’s what it looks like right now:

Kevin Costner enough for you? (Adam GreySWNS.com/Buzzfeed)
Kevin Costner enough for you? (Adam GreySWNS.com/Buzzfeed)

It’s been this way for months and there is no end in sight.

The Doomsday book records dredging and drainage of this precious region. Then performed regularly by the monasteries governments and environmental agencies have taken over responsibility from the church.

Except they have stopped doing it and look at the result.

Houses ruined, farms bankrupt, livestock destroyed, people dead. There’s even talk of returning it to the sea – just not bothering #TooHard.

The government is playing catch up. They are putting on their wellies both literally and metaphorically way too late. You’d think that with Scotland planning to jump ship soonish, David Cameron would want to preserve every little bit of land he still governs. Instead, he wants to get to work on destroying the Chilterns, another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, by ploughing upwards of £82 billion into the white elephant otherwise known as the HS2 rail network.

Surely we could put that money to better use. A few ideas above.

42 thoughts on “Water World, Water Works and a Whole Load of Untreated Shit

    1. I wonder???? It’s been done since forever and only been stopped due to inflated salaries and pensions that need paying to Environmental agency employees. But as you say, What to believe? I believe very little that comes out of Downing St.

      1. Yes, I am inclined to believe that the ‘dredging is not the answer’ lobby are protecting erroneous decisions made. The longer you say something, the more you believe it lark. Except that many of us question these things.. Aaargh…

      2. Just once again the govt handles it so slowly and so badly – literally arriving without wells on the first visit. Perhaps they can walk on water but somehow I don’t think so.

  1. Perhaps we shouldn’t be building homes on flood plains – that might help. And I have always wondered about those multi-million £ houses right next to the Thames, and how safe they are. Apparently they aren’t. I’ve never lived near a flooded area until I moved to Shropshire and the Severn flooded. Often. Now they have flood barriers and it has helped. A bit. And roads around here are flooded so driving is hazardous and villages cut off. But it has stopped raining, for now.

    And is this due to climate change or just a natural event? Who knows… I certainly don’t.

    1. You are so right about the flood plains. It is so important for all of us that they remain as flood plains – and as you say, not housing developments.
      Those Posh houses for the most part are still ok, it’s lower down towards Staines but yes, I always thought living beside a tidal river inviting disaster.

      1. Yeh, well that figures. If it were the govt ministers houses they’d have called in the army much sooner! I hope someone is checking on the elderly who won’t be able to get out.

  2. Hear, hear, Mrs C! My heart just goes out to those poor, poor people who are inundated and flooding is awful – it ruins everything. I live opposite a rather large village pond which, although it’s broken its banks, hasn’t reached across the road yet. About ten years ago it did and I can remember worrying about sandbags (we were lucky and it receded). After that, the parish council had the storm drains dredged, and the pond had its banks steepened and various things done. The problem has been much better ever since. I cannot but feel that clearing the drains, dredging the ditches and all such work will definitely make an impact and fewer householders would have their homes ruined.

  3. It’s a recipe for disaster when policy makers and budget holders think they know better than local people, with historical knowledge. Powerful lobbies for misguided ‘eco friendly’ policies ride rough shod over property, businesses and lives. Doubtless this is a natural crisis with such exceptional rainfall, but it’s been made so much worse through gross ineptitude and unbridled arrogance.

    No doubt we’ll have a hosepipe ban during the summer tho’!!!!

    1. Chance will be a fine thing if the Gulf Stream doesn’t lift its skirts.
      There’s a lot more to come on the floods too. I understand a big power station at Reading is threatened. Should be interesting.

  4. Good grief – what a stinking mess! Try to stay dry, Mrs C.

    We’ve had record rains just north of us – 2.1 metres (about 12 feet) fell over the weekend, and to our south we have horrendous bush-fires. Mother Natures is really flexing her muscles this year.

    1. She sure is. Selfishly, I prefer rain to snow here and was saying that earlier this winter now I’d put up with the snow to stop the horrendous suffering. I cannot believe horses are being put down because they cannot get them to dry land.


  5. The National Planning Policy Framework is for building just about everywhere. It also includes allowing destruction of ancient woodland, this when it has been shown that trees are one of the best means of alleviating flooding, to say nothing of adding to our wellbeing in other ways.Re-planting new for old doesn’t quite hack it on the replacement front. Dredging, I believe, can be problematical on some rivers, because then it speeds up the flood and can then deliver an almighty deluge downstream. Also the EA has been systematically emasculated over the last few years. Good on you Mrs C for highlighting people’s terrible plight. The next row will be about house insurance in flood risk areas.

    1. Thank you Tish – yes the insurance is coming beating at all our doors. I know what you mean about the dredging but it has helped on the Levels for centuries and the EA knows the gulf stream is going wonky due to global warming – its been predicted for years but obviously has done nothing about it.
      I guess we all thought the Maldives would go under first.

  6. I saw David Cameron on the news this morning sprouting on about money being no object…he might regret he said that. I thought the British government had no money left. We’ve been seeing a lot of coverage of the floods here. It must be so awful for the people who have been affected. Stay dry and safe mrsc.

    1. Thanks – were pretty well ok here save soggy ground but it has been utterly horrid for those affected. Still is and no end in sight.
      At least we’re paying an Aussie upward of £720,000 to destroy the Chilterns with a train that will save 20 minutes only on a trip to Birmingham.

  7. I watch it in the news. It is a desaster.
    Same happened in 2013 in Mid-Europe… and before that in 2002… So far it looks like there is nothing more to left for governments and people than just to re-act.

      1. You’re right. Italy had to fight immense floodings during the last years as well. If it doesn’t happen right before your door, it is out of your radar the minute it is out of the news…

    1. That is so so sad about NOLA. I’ve been there once pre Katrina and loved the place. I guess as a tourist I wouldn’t notice so much difference about the real lives that have been affected.

      1. You would notice if you drove even 10 minutes to the lower lying parish’s where the levy broke. After so many years it’s a disgrace. I hope this does not happen in your world.

      2. Exactly and that is what is the saddest of all. These areas look like a bomb went off. It’s really ignorant.

  8. It’s hard to believe all these photos we’re seeing of flooding are ENGLAND.
    And it doesn’t stop raining, just as it doesn’t stop snowing here — but the constant snows in New England are not the unprecedented and destructive events that your floods are. (Not that they’re pleasant, but they’re not comparable.)
    I’m keeping my eyes fixed on your crocuses —

  9. 😦 So frightening. Part of me says this is just out and out wrong, we are the modern world! Another part says it isn’t wrong, we cannot control nature. Either way, I hope these waters recede quickly, my heart aches for everyone affected by this flooding.

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