New Rain Gardens Will Reduce Wandle Flood Risk

New local project also set to create attractive landscape features

A new project - Wandle Rain Gardens - is helping people who live along the course of the River Wandle to create green roofs, rain gardens, install water butts and even dig up concrete and tarmac.

The aim is to create attractive landscape features known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that will help retain rainwater and reduce the impacts of both flooding and summer drought.

The organisation says most rainfall currently flows into drains, and the sewage system, instead of being naturally absorbed by soil. Even moderate rainfall can lead to water overflowing from the streets and sewers into the Wandle and Thames, with potentially disastrous effects on local wildlife and human health.

The Wandle was once badly polluted but it is now one of the few rivers in London where wild brown trout can be seen, feeding on the insects and other small fish that make the river their home.

The Wandle Rain Gardens project aims to raise awareness of how creating SuDS, using less tap water in our homes and gardens, and being more aware of our impacts on the local environment, can bring real benefits and create streets and surroundings that are greener and more pleasant to live in.

As part of the project Trust staff and volunteers are now working in Merton, Wandsworth and Sutton boroughs with local communities and organisations to help make this happen.

Project Officer Joanna Ecclestone said: "Flooding in London is likely to get worse as climate change brings wetter winters and heavier downpours, so it is very important that we begin making changes to the way we use rainwater now.  

"We hope that by working with people living in Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton through the Wandle Rain Gardens project, we can inspire people with practical and attractive ways of adapting their gardens and public spaces, benefiting these communities for decades to come."

The Wandle Rain Gardens project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and is being delivered with local social housing residents as part of the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership. It complements the wider Wandle Valley Regional Park initiative.

If you would like to learn more or get involved, please email or call Joanna on 020 7252 9186.

January 17, 2017

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The River Wandle in Morden Hall Park

Photo credit: Garry Knight/Wikimedia Commons