Need for reservoir highlighted as 100 Lowdham properties flooded during Storm Babet
One hundred properties are estimated to have been affected by flooding in a village.
Peter Cross, of Lowdham Flood Action Group, said the group did not know the exact number, but believed it to be around that amount.
At its worst on Friday, the floodwater was three feet deep in places, as heavy rain brought by Storm Babet caused surface water build up and over-filled the Cocker Beck.
Lowdham is no stranger to flooding, having experienced significant floods in 1999, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2019 and 2020, and the well-established action group assisted emergency services in co-ordinating evacuations and aid.
Peter said: “We use social media quite a lot, particularly Facebook, to find out out if somebody, for instance, needed evacuating.
“There was a fire and rescue service tender in the village, and we would hear on our Facebook site of a need to evacuate somebody, we’d then alert the fire and rescue service as to where it was, and they’d go and help them out.
“There were a few older people [evacuated], some of whom were evacuated by boat. I would guess there was half a dozen or so.”
The water has now gone, but for the many who were flooded there is still much to do.
“What we’re doing now, we’re in the recovery phase where you walk around the village and see people pulling wet carpets out of their houses and piling them up on the road and things,” added Peter.
“There’s lots of piles of that, and people have removed sandbags from houses that did and didn’t flood and they’re putting those that got wet on the street as well.”
In the difficult time, the community shone through, with many new volunteers offering their support to the action group and businesses opening their doors to offer warm drinks.
However, the flood once again highlights the necessity of the £26m Environment Agency project to build a reservoir on land above Lowdham, at Rockleys View, capable of holding up to 100,000 cubic metres of water and holding it back from inundating the village.
A ground breaking event was held for the project earlier in the month — attended by Peter, alongside Newark MP Robert Jenrick, councillors, and Environment Agency officials — and it is due to be completed by Winter 2025.
While the already-completed lagoon at Lowdham cricket pitch worked as intended, the volume of water was too great for the defence.
Peter said: “If [the reservoir] had been in place we would have been alright.
“It holds seven times the amount the cricket pitch lagoon holds, and that overtopped, but it didn’t overtop by enough water that the new scheme wouldn’t have been able to cope with.”