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In an article in ABC&D Magazine, Kevin Reed, Water Recycling Manager at SDS, suggests that it’s high time we built flood defences that save the rain.

“Whenever there is an over-abundance of rainwater, we are failing to save it. Instead of valuing it as a precious resource, we treat it as waste that causes flooding as it flows away into over-burdened drains, sewers and rivers.

Rainwater harvesting systems, however, can act as a first line of flood defence by holding back surface water when it rains heavily. At the same time, they reduce the need to use heavily-treated mains water for non-drinking water uses. Yet, we persist in treating surface water as a waste product and look to dispose of a precious and valuable commodity as quickly as possible.”

This year has already seen the highest rainfall since records began in 1862. Extreme weather conditions have caused flooding devastation and heartbreak.

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said ‘Welcome to the climate emergency’ at the end of February, warning that, unless urgent action is taken, more communities will flood more often and more seriously in future.

Reputed for his no-holds barred speeches, Sir James previously reminded us (in 2018) that surface water is ‘the biggest flood risk of all’.

In 2019, he exposed another ‘existential threat’ – the ‘jaws of death’. This shocking metaphor came to signify that, at the present rate, we will no longer have enough drinking water to meet demand by 2050. Wasting water should be ‘as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby’, he said.

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