Why did the floods happen?

The flooding in Rotherham was caused by exceptionally heavy and intense rainfall - approx 80 million cubic metres of rain fell on South Yorkshire on 25 June.

What did we do during the floods?

Throughout the floods we used a number of different ways to warn people of the risk of flooding from rivers. We use a combination of these methods depending on the information and systems that are available in that area. Examples of these are:
  • Regular updates via the media on TV, radio and the internet.
  • Floodline - information was available 24 hours a day, 7 days by calling 0845 988 1188.
  • Live warnings in force were detailed on our website.
  • Floodline Warnings Direct - sent warnings 24 hours a day by telephone, text message, email, fax or pager. Register by calling 0845 988 1188.

What did we do to forecast where flooding would happen?

We use the latest technology 24 hours a day to monitor rainfall, river levels and sea conditions. We can provide local area forecasts on the possibility of flooding and its likely severity. We use this information to know when to issue flood warnings.

The highest river level ever recorded on the River Rother at Rotherham was on 25 June, with the river reaching 5.71 metres on the river level gauge.

How did we warn the public?

We issued the following Flood Watches and Warnings for communities in this area:

  • 06.06 on 15 June a Flood Warning for River Don at Rotherham
  • 12.13 on 25 June a Flood Warning for River Don at Rotherham
  • 14.00 on 25 June a Severe Flood Warning for River Don at Rotherham
  • 14.37 on 25 June a Severn Flood Warning Update for River Don at Rotherham
  • 11.40 on 25 June a Flood Warning for River Don at Templeborough and Ickles
  • 12.10 on 25 June a Flood Warning for River Don at Kilnhurst
  • 13.30 on 25 June a Flood Warning update for River Don at Kilnhurst
  • 14.28 on 25 June a Severe Flood Warning for River Don at Kilnhurst
  • 13.36 on 25 June a Flood Watch for Don Middle Catchment
  • 21.39 on 25 June a Flood Warning for Rother Valley Country Park
  • 21.42 on 25 June a Flood Warning for River Rother at Killamarsh
  • 21.52 on 25 June a Flood Warning for River Rother at Catcliffe

We warned around 160 properties but only 52 per cent of properties in the flood risk area are registered with our Flood Warnings Direct service.

What emergency works are we carrying out following the flood?

There is erosion at Canklow Regulator that is due to be fixed. 

What impact did the floods have?

How many properties were flooded?

Evidence from our aerial photography suggests that around 590 households and 480 businesses flooded in the Rotherham area.

How did our flood defences perform during the floods?

We have a series of washlands and regulators in this area.

The lowering of Canklow regulator gate limits the flow of the River Rother. This allows the River Rother flood peak to be delayed until after the River Don flood peak has passed Rotherham. The closing of the regulator gate allows the filling of the seven washland storage areas. This provides a total storage capacity of 1,520,600 cubic metres. The careful use of this storage can have a significant effect on flood levels on the River Don.

The Meadowgate and Woodhouse Mill regulators limit the flow of the River Rother, which allows the flood peak to be delayed, increasing the length of time that the Canklow regulator can be used. The raising of Meadowgate regulator stores the flood water and fills washland compartments, providing a total storage capacity of 1,100,000 cubic metres.

The Woodhouse Mill washland is a single low lying area divided by a railway embankment with flood arches. There are no floodbanks and therefore flood waters overspill shortly after the gate has closed.

The regulators protect Catcliffe as the water levels can be held 500 mm below the top of the defences at Catcliffe for a long period of time. Without any of these regulators Catcliffe would certainly flood.

During the event, all of the regulators were operated to full capacity. The buildings, washlands, barrier banks and sluices were manned. At 21:43 on 25 June Canklow power failed and an emergency generator was ordered. The generator could not be installed and Canklow regulator had to be evacuated due to the threat posed by Ulley Dam. Meadowgate and Woodhouse Mill operated to full capacity.

What did we communicate during and after the floods?

We took part in media interviews to let people know what was happening. Since the floods we have met members of the public in two flood surgeries in Rotherham and Catcliffe. We have listened to peoples concerns and answered many questions.

What maintenance do we do? 

We do annual channel clearance of the rivers Don and Rother in Rotherham. This includes tree cutting and takes place between September and March.  We liaise with Rotherham City Council regarding improvements to the washlands and to ensure that there is sufficient access for the maintenance program to be completed.

There is a maintenance program at Kilnhurst Washlands (upper and lower) and Old Denby Washlands to ensure grass cutting and vermin control is carried out.

There is a annual maintenance program for the sluice gates. An annual inspection by a reservoir inspector is carried out to ensure that they meet the required standard.

A large tree clearance operation was carried out in Old Denby on the escape channel from the sluice gate to the outlet in the river before the flooding occurred.

A maintenance programme is in place at Old Walk and Swindon Sewage Works to carry out vermin control and grass cutting.

What are we doing in the future?

What can you do?

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