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Dartmouth flood pump failure

South West Water are a private company answerable to shareholders but not subject to compulsory Freedom of Information requests. They maintain they are open to public enquiries but members of the public have found difficulty in getting answers to questions.
They did however agree to answer public questions at this week’s meeting of South Hams District Council Scrutiny committee, and thanks to Cllrs Hawkins and Bastone, questions were answered about the Dartmouth embankment’s recent pump failure, when rainwater flooding in Victoria Road necessitated the call out of the Dartmouth Fire and Rescue service. Richard Gilpin head of SWW was accompanied by two fellow officers and said that 3 of their 5 priority flood areas were in South Hams and Kingsbridge for example stood to benefit £600,000 as part of their £863m investment plan 2015-2020.
In Dartmouth he said that there was an 830 cubic metre deep wet well for floodwater served by two sets of pumps on the embankment which can pump rain floodwater at a rate of 15L/sec into the middle of the river. There was also a generator on site to cope with power failures. These however were being serviced when the flooding incident occurred.
Their capacity was designed for rainfall flooding if the Dartmouth Leat system is exceeded but not for the river flooding in February and September next year when astronomical tides are predicted as part of an 18 year cycle and the perpetual 4mm per year increases in sea levels The responsibility for tidal flooding remains with the Environment Agency and
with South Hams Council who own the embankment river flood defences

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