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Water pumps in action to alleviate flood risk in south-east UK

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Southern Water is deploying pumps as extreme rainfall in the UK over the winter has raised the risk of flooding across the region.
Tankers are also being used to protect sewers and reduce the risk of rising water affecting homes and businesses.
Around 50 tankers are busy pumping out rainwater which is forcing its way into the sewer system in a bid to minimise the risk of the network becoming overwhelmed.
Kelly Robinson, customer manager for Kent, said: “This winter the weather has been truly extreme – the Nailbourne River in Canterbury is flowing again – something it hasn’t done since 2016.
“Rainfall in winter plays an important role in topping up water resources, but too much intense rain saturates the ground and the risk of flooding for our customers increases. We’re working closely with the Environment Agency and councils to reduce the risk of flooding.”
Between November and the end of January the south-east received 124% of its average rainfall for the period.
At 274mm of rain that is equivalent to 5.5 billion gigalitres of water.
Bewl Water – the largest body of open water in the region - holds just 31 million mega litres so enough water fell to fill it 183 times.
To alleviate the pressure on sewer systems Southern Water has been deploying tankers round the clock – 48 are in use at any given moment – mainly in Kent and Hampshire.
Steve Gilson, managing director of our contractors MTS Cleansing Services, added: “It can be disruptive for Southern Water’s customers to have tankers parked up and pumping in their village but residents realise we’re there to help and are very supportive.
“It’s been a massive job this winter. We’ve taken away more than 200 million litres of water and we will be here as long as there’s a need for our services to keep people’s properties dry.”