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 A new tool in the fight to prevent flooding on Canvey Island is being unveiled.

A digital model of the island’s waterways and drains has been created which will make it possible to explore the effects of extreme weather events and identify long term measures that will reduce the risk of flooding. Anglian Water presented details of the Integrated Urban Drainage model at Castle Point Borough Council on Tuesday (October 20). Also at the meeting councillors got an update on all the work that has taken place on the island to tackle flooding since last year.

Last July storms hit the Essex coast resulting in devastating floods on the island. In the aftermath Anglian Water, Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council, Essex Highways, Essex Fire & Rescue and the Environment Agency formed a partnership to work strategically towards a more secure future for homes and businesses on the island.

Since then more than £1.7m has been spent on a comprehensive maintenance, repair and cleaning scheme across the island’s drainage network. Alongside other partners, Anglian Water has carried out more than 300 improvements and repairs on 180 roads totalling 36km in length, and more work is planned.

Led by Anglian Water, the partnership has worked together to develop the Integrated Urban Drainage model. The agencies involved spent 12 weeks measuring the flows in the drains, and watercourses on Canvey, the volume of Canvey Lake and the capability of pumping stations. This was added to detailed maps of the area to create a single model which will now be tested by digitally recreating the July 2014 storms and its affect on the island.

Jonathan Glerum, Anglian Water Flood Risk Manager, said: “This model is not the solution to the flooding issues on Canvey, but it is a vital tool for helping us find that solution.

“As people who live on Canvey know all too well, heavy rain and flooding can be extremely unpredictable. This model is one step towards helping us to predict what will happen in various situations. We hope to use it to test different storm scenarios and see how different factors, including the level of Canvey Lake, the size of sewers and the capacity of pumps, will achieve different results.

“We have applied the latest scientific understanding of the way water moves across a landscape with the very best data we can gather to help us get to the root of this and equip ourselves to better tackle flooding.”

Graham Verrier, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager, said: "The model will help inform all partners involved on where further improvements could be made to Canvey's infrastructure and, in the long term, will improve the island's resilience to flooding."

Chairman of the Essex Flood Partnership Board and County Councillor Roger Hirst, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Environment, said: “The Integrated Urban Drainage model is key to helping us develop greater resolve against recurring flooding in Canvey. This model is the result of strong partnership working between flood agencies and will help inform future plans around flood management.”