By Anthony Kimber PhD MSe
From “Rye’s Own” April 2011 issue
“Following the 2007 nationwide flooding, the Government conducted a major review, which resulted in a series of recommendations. One of these was that there should be a national exercise to improve the preparedness of communities at risk of flooding. Exercise WATERMARK was planned by DEFRA to run in early March. Some 80 communities took part, with Rye, at the confluence of three rivers and close to the coast, holding a table-top exercise in Rye Town Hall during the morning of 5 March.
The Rye Emergency Community Action Team (REACT) made the arrangements. This voluntary group works as a subset of Rye Town Council. Some 30 individuals representing local volunteers, councillors and officers from Local Authorities, Environment Agency, Romney Marsh Inner Drainage Board and Sussex Police, took part during the morning. The event took the form of a structured consideration of flood risks in Rye District using a worst case scenario of high tides, prolonged heavy rain, saturated ground and high river levels. The event was opened and closed by District Councillor David Russell, who thanked REACT for organising the event. At the end, Charles Sharrod,Emergency Planning Officer of Rother District Council said that “the exercise was valuable and very good use of his and the other professionals’ time”. Colonel Anthony Kimber, Chair REACT said that “He was very pleased with the participation and the valuable contributions to the exercise by both professionals and volunteers alike. The exercise raised a list of issues which REACT will take forward in its future contingency planning. Importantly, this sort of event helps to “ALERT but not ALARM” the public about flood risks and provides a clearer understanding of how flood events are handled”. He hoped that it would help the Community be better prepared for localised flood incidents should they occur.