Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Gloucester City Council and the Environment Agency would like to work with you, in this area of Gloucester, to help your community to be better able to cope with heavy rainfall and to help you to create a nicer place to live. Answering the following questions will really help us to know whether this is something that you want too!
 
What is a rain garden?

Rain gardens (or rainwater gardens) are areas of planting designed to capture rainwater which runs off hard surfaces such as roofs and pavements. They let this water enter the drainage system more slowly, meaning the water doesn’t all reach the streams and rivers in one go, and so reducing the risk and impact of floods while helping to protect our rivers and streams from pollution.
Rainwater gardens are planted with flowers and other plants, which, along with the soil,  absorb surface run-off from rainfall. They can come in all shapes and sizes, from raised planters which capture roof run-off, to replacing larger areas of concrete and greening of communal areas. They can be in public areas like pavements or in private gardens or yards.

As surface water (rain) runs over hard surfaces, it also picks up harmful chemicals like oil and fertilisers from the ground. This poor-quality water is filtered through soil and plant roots in a rain garden, reducing pollution and protecting our waterways.

Why do we need rain gardens?

In urban areas, concrete and other hard surfaces, together with the removal of vegetation, has resulted in increased, more rapid surface water run-off into our rivers and streams. The growing trend to pave over our driveways and front gardens in our towns means that rainwater is directed straight into drains (which often flow into streams), which can be overloaded in heavy rain and storms. These two factors contribute toward ever more frequent flooding.

During the summer of 2007 Gloucester was severely affected by flooding with 1,100 properties flooded. Some of this was due to surface water not draining and drains backing up, and some from watercourses overtopping.

Unfortunately, national forecasts suggest that we must prepare for a rise in flood events. As our climate changes, it becomes more and more important to consider how best to manage rainwater and respond to the problem of more water falling more quickly and more often. Sometimes foul sewers that also receive rainfall run-off in the same pipe may become extremely full during heavy rainfall. In some situations this may cause special underground chambers (known as Combined Sewer Overflows) to operate and discharge untreated sewage (including all the items flushed down the toilet) into our rivers. These overflows help to reduce the risk of the sewer network backing up and flooding peoples’ homes, roads and open spaces.

We can be proactive in protecting our homes and businesses. Rainwater gardens are likely to have important environmental benefits and can form an important part of the solution to local flood protection, as well as providing habitats for plants and insects which are struggling in many of our urban areas.


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Example Rain Garden at Matson Baptist Church

Example Rain Garden at Matson Baptist Church

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* 1. Do you feel that rainwater gardens are an important part of the solution to prevent flooding in towns and cities?

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* 2. Would you like to see this sort of project to capture surface water in your own area?

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* 3. Would you like to see less hard surfaces and more planted areas in your area?

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* 4. Do you think that new planted areas would make the area look nicer than it is now?

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* 5. Would you have any concerns about rainwater gardens being installed in your street?

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* 6. What sort of plants would you like to see in street rain gardens?

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* 7. Do you have any ways of catching and slowing rainwater from your own roof or yard?

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* 8. Would you like to know more about how to install rain gardens on your own property?

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* 9. Would you like to attend a local information event, run by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, about rain gardens, to give you more information and at which you can suggest more ideas?

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* 10. Would you like Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to work with you and other residents to come up with ways, of reducing flooding and improving the area for wildlife?

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* 11. What ward in Gloucester do you live in?

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