Heavy rainfall – more than 15mm – on Wednesday night has tested the drainage system around Rye.
The lower part of the town at river level relies on river defences maintained by the Environment Agency. These defences passed a gruelling test during the rain and tidal surge in December 2013. Behind them, there is a system of drains and sewers. If the former gets into the latter or if high river levels prevent egress, then there is a risk of what Southern Water calls “hydraulic overload”. In short, the system cannot cope and there is spillage. The worst is that this may contain raw sewage.
Members of the Rye Emergency Action Community Team (React) know where the weak spots are: the north end of the Strand, the Grove, parts of the Tilling Green estate, Ashenden Avenue, parts of the North Salts. In several of these places on Thursday morning there was severe ponding.
Pictures show some of the water in the late morning. As these places are well known, Southern Water and the Highways Agency, with local authority support, need to address these places and come up with some long-term solutions.
Anthony Kimber is chairman of React / Photos: Anthony Kimber