Plans to switch on extra pumps to try and clear the Somerset Levels of floodwater have been delayed. The machinery, which is in place at Beer Wall, had been expected to begin operating this morning if water levels dropped enough.
Environment Agency staff opened sluice gates at Monks Leaze yesterday, which is sending water downstream to the Beer Wall area. The Beer Wall pumps cannot be turned on until that water level has dropped.
Giant pumps being used to help reduce flooding on the Somerset Levels have been turned off because they are damaging the river banks.
The Environment Agency took the action yesterday so they could stabilise the ground. Steel shipping containers are now going to be used to help secure the damaged area - and the pump pipe work will be moved upstream.
Bob Cruwys reports on the latest setback adding to the misery for people living on the Levels:-
Giant pumps being used to help reduce flooding on the Somerset Levels have been switched off because they were damaging a riverbank.
The 13 pumps, which have been imported from the Netherlands, are diverting flood water in an effort to reduce river levels.
But the Environment Agency noticed that serious damage was being done to the banks of the River Parrett and took the decision to turn the pumps off and assess the situation.
The decision was taken to stop for a short period to stabilise the bank so we can restart pumping on Monday. We also have used this opportunity to move the pipes further into the estuary to minimise further damage.
– Environment Agency Spokesman
Today's dry weather means that water levels have dropped slightly, but more rain is forecast next week.
When fully operational the pumps can move more than 7 million tonnes of water per day.