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Why flood problem lies out of town; VOICE OF THE NORTH.

YOUR article about the high water line of the floods being marked in Morpeth made me chuckle (The Journal, June 15).

I was the officer/co-ordinator in charge of the emergency, rescue and clean-up teams that dealt with the disastrous flood in the town in 1963.

Afterwards, I had bronze plates fixed at three separate locations indicating the high water mark.

Many years later, as luxurious riverside properties began to be developed, they mysteriously disappeared.

Maybe it was because one plate upstream of the Telford Bridge showed the water at 17' 4" above the mean river level. There are plenty of us alive today who remember the bold claims that "the new flood walls will ensure this will never happen again".

If anyone still believes the problem lies within the town boundaries, then maybe they can get the powers that be to stop the tide rising where the Wansbeck meets the North Sea.

That's for starters.

Take a look at the catchment area to the west: almost 100 square miles that includes Sweethope Loch, Fontburn Reservoir, the River Font and 100 or more tributaries.

Now, if you could persuade all the landowners and farmers to dig up all the hundreds of miles of irrigation drainage, which the Government paid them to install in this area, thus allowing naturally controlled absorption of rainfall, then this would also help a little..

However, if anyone out there can fathom out what to do with four to six feet of snow lying on frozen ground and covering the whole of the catchment area, as was the case on March 17, 1963, when the temperatures freakishly, and suddenly, rose to 18c in a fresh west wind and cloudless sky, and where shepherds reported snow drifts melting before their eyes, then believe me, I'd be pleased to hear from you.

If you believe the above mentioned to be possible to control then you will also believe that our newly formed Northumberland Council will be able to sort it out, because it's in their court now.

ERNIE GORDON, Alnwick, Northumberland
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2009
Words:343
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