Water giant steps in to stop repeat of flooding in South Oxford

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A SCHEME to prevent flooding in South Oxford has been praised by residents.

Thames Water carried out the work to prevent flooding in the area which was devastated by rising water levels last winter.

It was just over a year ago that the drains failed in South Oxford, causing flooding in streets including Whitehouse Road, off Abingdon Road.

Nearby St Ebbe’s Primary School had to close.

But now residents say they will be better protected by the scheme.

South Oxford Flood Action Group (SOFAG) chairman Brian Durham said he was pleased action has finally been taken.

He said: “Following introductions made by MPs Nicola Blackwood and Andrew Smith, community flood group SOFAG opened negotiations with Thames Water to avoid a repetition of the flooding.

“Thames Water supplies Oxford with clean water and disposes of our dirty water and they have now announced completion of an upgrade to two critical parts of the system in Grandpont.

“They have cleaned out the sediment of years from the drains that run under the streets and have fitted an ingenious system of ‘guide ropes’ to the pumps in five sewage wells across the Oxford flood plain.

“This means that the pumps can be serviced in the conditions when they are working hardest, when normal levels of waste water are increased by rain and river flooding.

“It has been a privilege to work with engineers from this major utility company.

“Initially the idea of getting guide ropes installed in Oxford was just a distant dream, but here they are in time for whatever this winter may bring, a testament to the hard work of at least four Thames Water engineers.”

It comes after flood defences worth £1m were put into nearby Hinksey Stream, including new flood walls and a 900-metre surface water sewer.

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Oxford East MP Andrew Smith has welcomed the work.

He said: “Both at Grandpont and Munday’s Bridge Thames Water has listened to what MPs and flood groups have been urging.

“I am pleased to see this work being done which will make a lot of difference.

“I will be the first to speak up for residents when I feel Thames Water is doing the wrong thing.

“I wrote to OFWAT to urge them to block the recent price rise, and I am pleased they did, but equally when they do the right thing, which they have by finding a solution, that is welcome.”

Thames Water project manager Tim McMahon said: “We know that sewer flooding is an absolutely miserable experience.

“We are pleased to have been working closely with the South Oxford Flood Action Group to reduce the risk of future flooding.”

Thames Water would not say how much the project cost.

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