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Winterbornes Face Flood Risk If More Rain


8:25am 25th January 2014

The Environment Agency is warning the Winterbournes in Dorset are at risk of flooding this weekend (25th - 26th January) with more rain on the way.

Experts say the water table, beneath chalky grounds, is so high it's close to overflowing.

Most of the countries chalky Winterbourne Rivers run through villages in Dorset.

A winterbourne is a stream or river that is dry through the summer months but has running water during the colder months from overflowing ground water caused by the rain.

Guy Parker from the Environment Agency uses a simple bath tub that's filled with sponge's analogy, to explain the rising water table in the chalky winterbournes;

"The springs and the streams start around the plug hole level - of a bath - and as the water table rises it usually gets to the overflow in the bath and that's what we normally see in winter. But if you turn the taps full on like we've seen in the last few weeks, the overflow can't cope and the water level rises and comes out over the top of the bath."

Guy has a couple of tips for villagers who need to protect their homes;

"The obvious one is to dig a French drain around the edge of your house. What you're trying to do is just lower the water table a few inches around your property and lower it around your house. Sandbags are also a good defence from cars splashing water toward your home if surface water does spill over onto the roads."

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