Sunday, 22 September 2019

Mystery flood has turned woods into ‘Everglades’

Mystery flood has turned woods into ‘Everglades’

THE cause of a flooding problem in woodland at Bowsey Hill remains a mystery.

Thames Water has denied a resident’s claim that it is responsible for the problem in the area, where there is a reservoir.

Peter Fife, who has lived in the area for 30 years, says the woods are so damp that it has killed trees.

He likened the area to the Everglades, the tropical wetlands in southern Florida.

Mr Fife, 64, has been badgering the water company about the problem for seven years.

Water is continuing to trickle from an emergency overflow system at the top of the hill and he believes that a blocked pipe could be the cause.

Mr Fife said: “Over the years, all this land here has become swampy. The water is just seeping all the way down and the trees are dying.  The water is supposed to come down one path but even then it is only supposed to happen in an emergency. It has been like this for seven years.

“You don’t have to know much about water to know that there must be a break in the pipe for the water to be going elsewhere. It is horrendous much further down the hill. 

“This is turning into something like the Everglades. I just want something to be done about it.

“The trouble is it is now killing the trees so somebody has got to do something about it.”

A water cycle study carried out by Wokingham Borough Council and published in January reported concerns about the capacity of reservoir storage at Bowsey Hill.

A local landowner, who did not want to be named, said: “I can tell you categorically that it is Thames Water’s problem.

“It is their manhole and reservoir and that is where the water is running from. They are the ones that need to do it. The only people that are ensured and legally allowed would be Thames Water.

“This emergency overflow was put in many years ago but it is running constantly.

“It is wasting a lot of water and it sounds like nothing has been done since they were first contacted.”

Thames Water said its staff visited the area to investigate and found a minor leak, which is due to be scheduled for repair. The company says this is not the cause of the flooding and that a blocked pipe is not to blame either.

A spokesman said: “Our investigations have not uncovered anything that we believe could be the cause of the dampness in the woods.

“We are due to repair a very minor leak on land we own on Bowsey Hill but the amount of water leaking isn’t enough to cause flooding to the woods.

“The leak is some distance away from the wet ground, so it’s extremely unlikely there is any link.

“We don’t have any sewer pipes in the area either, so have ruled out wastewater flooding from our network as a possible cause too.”

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