We have seen how risk of flooding can be reduced by increasing the amount of water that can fit into the river channel, by enabling the water to flow through more rapidly due to straightening the channel and by holding back some of the water so that it hasn’t all got to pass through the same section of river at once.
But all these methods do still have to process much the same amount of water eventually. The only way around that is to actually divert some of the water elsewhere.
This pretty and peaceful channel contains water from the River Thames. But it isn’t the River Thames, it is a flood relief channel. The water leaves the Thames at Maidenhead and follows a man-made route for just over 7 miles, re-entering the Thames downstream of Windsor.
Flow is carefully controlled and has successfully reduced flooding in Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton. However, residents downstream of the point where the water re-enters the Thames claim to have experienced increased flooding.
So again, the problem hasn’t disappeared, it has just moved – away from these large towns but at the expense of other places downstream.
As a temporary measure, the downstream Thames has been dredged to increase the size of the channel, but…guess what? There are now plans for a further flood relief channel to reduce risk on this next section.