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The East Suffolk Catchments Partnership brought together farmers and local people to visit Natural Flood Management sites upstream of Debenham in Suffolk. Funded by the Deben Holistic Water Management Project, Environment Agency and Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust, sites on three farms will slow rain water, caputre sediment and help allieviate flooding in the village of Debenham downstream.

These simple measures include small ponds linked to ditches that fill during heavy rain, then slowly release water back into the ditch and river once the storm has passed. Constructed by the Internal Drainage Board the ponds are on private land thanks to the generosity and foresight of the farmers and landowners in the area.

Jane Burch, of the Holistic Water Management Project, said, “This is a landscape-scale approach to solving a flooding problem in Debenham. Traditional flood defences in the village would cost over £10m, which was too expensive to be justified nationally. So we worked with the Rivers Trust, IDB and local farmers to come up with an alternative solution. After extensive modelling by the Environment Agency we have now installed these natural systems for around 1% of that cost.”

Tom Styles, who installed a pond on his land, said, “It’s a great system for me. Not only does it help the flooding in the village but it also takes the water from my yard, preventing sediment from clogging up the ditch. I also have a nice-looking new pond on the farm which will be great for wildlife and the family. ”

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