RSP Home River Severn Tales Chris Witts



We have rivers to carry rainfall from the land down to the sea. At times of heavy, prolonged rain they may flood. The River Severn has well established floodplains along its length, for example the Shropshire Plain and low lying areas in Gloucestershire. Floodplains are low lying agricultural land that holds overspills of water from the river. By overspilling into the floodplains it prevents the water from travelling downstream and flooding urban areas.

As the level of water in the river rises there are different terms used to denote each stage of rise. The river running at 6 feet above summer level is said to contain 6 feet of Fresh.


The Environment Agency was created to maintain and improve the water environment of England and

Wales. Their statutory responsibilities in the key areas are, Pollution Control, Water Resources, Fisheries and Flood Defence.

Under the 1991 Water Resources Act they have to provide effective defences for people and property against flooding from rivers and the sea. Also to provide adequate arrangements for flood forecasting and warning.

River maintenance is essential to allow the large volume of floodwater to pass safely to the sea. The Environment Agency have begun a comprehensive programme of building flood defence walls in concrete, steel and brick, where many hundreds of miles of soft flood defence earth embankments have been built.

At present there is a £35 million scheme to improve the flood defences between Avonmouth and Gloucester. It will take 20 years to complete the 43 miles, but will give protection to 8,000 people. Some say that the modern flood defences will not work, only time will tell. Newtown used to suffer from

serious flooding until in 1972 new defences were successfully built.

one mans flood Defence is

               another mans flood................




A relatively small rise

A relatively large rise

The river overflows the banks

Photomarine . Sharpness Shipping . Links . Gloucester Shipyard