1. ITV Report

The Dutch pumping system that could save submerged Somerset

Lorry loads of equipment have been arriving in Somerset all over the weekend. Photo: ITV News

A convoy of massive pumps and drainage equipment has been imported from the Netherlands to help drain the areas of Somerset still underwater.

The Dutch pumping company arrived in Somerset over the weekend. Credit: Van Heck

Four Dutch engineers with enough equipment for 21 pumps have arrived in Somerset since Friday. The Environment Agency have enlisted the help of Jerome Van Heck, a flooding expert engineer whose equipment has helped drain waters in times of floods and natural disasters across the globe.

The area near Bridgwater in Somerset, almost completely submerged in water. Credit: ITV News

When he arrived in Somerset and realised the scale of the problem, he shipped more equipment over from the Netherlands over the weekend.

It could take weeks or months to clear the land from the floodwater. Credit: ITV News

The extra pumps have been set up to funnel the massive amount of water out of Bridgwater and back to sea. As Peter Rossiter, a former National Rivers Authority manager explains, the pumps will help to drain the water that currently has nowhere to go.

There is an enormous amount of flooded land upstream, which can't get out because of what we call tidelock. The pumps will help pump against that tidelock.

– Peter Rossiter
Some of the pumps will be installed in Bridgwater. Credit: ITV News

The process will work by using the highly complex system of canals in the area. The giant pumps will be installed around submerged Bridgwater, which is currently a bottleneck for water.

The pumps will push the water upstream and inland.

The massive machines will then funnel the water upstream and inland towards Moorland, and on towards Langport, where a relief gate can be opened on the River Parrett, near Langford

The relief gate will then funnel the water through on the River Parrett, near Langford. Credit: ITV News

The relief gate will allow the water to flow down a relief channel into the King Sedgmore drain allowing the water to flow out to sea, more quickly at high tide.

The pumping system should allow some of the water to be taken at high tide. Credit: ITV News

Once this happens, it should mean that in areas where the flooded water is stuck, it should be able to begin to move. But it is a huge task, and with more bad weather forecast, there is no guarantee of when the fields will begin to drain.

Van Heck said earlier in a statement the situation may require even more pumps to ensure the plan actually works.

At the present moment Van Heck has shipped more than 20 pumps using more than 30 lorries to flood ridden Somerset.

With more bad weather forecast, it is likely that even more may be needed.

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