HAWICK residents this week presented their views to the council on how to combat flooding in the town.
At a public exhibition in Tower Mill, people were invited to give opinion on a range of defence options, some of which will be implemented as part of a future flood prevention scheme.
Proposals put to townsfolk included upstream reservoirs – holding basins located out of Hawick that would contain excess water – and the option of Volunteer Park and the Common Haugh becoming designated flood plains that would be allowed to be under water during a flood.
While protection will be designed to be as efficient as possible, Conor Price, project manager at the council, stressed that care will be taken in changing the appearance of the town. He said: “We concluded that flood protection is required in Hawick, and that will require major infrastructural changes. We also concluded that we must be careful not to sever the town from the river, which is an integral part of the town, with high walls as flood defences.”
Mr Price did stress that walls on both sides of the river adjacent to Duke Street and Mansfield Road would be necessary. He also recommended that the 1.35m wall at Victoria Bridge be heightened to 1.75m, around the height of an average man. More extreme options included the removal of both Albert Bridge and the gravel at Coble Cauld, work that would reduce flood levels by an estimated 1m.
The severity of a flood can be measured by the frequency with which it is likely to occur. Local flooding in October 2005 was considered a “one-in-50-year event”, with the inundation in 2009 labelled a “one-in-10”. The council’s project team recommends that protection installed in the town guards against at least a one-in-75 year event.
Galashiels has received funding of £3.5million for its flood prevention scheme, while Selkirk is seeking approval for works totalling £25million.
Work in Hawick was initially estimated to cost £50-60million, but that project was reviewed just months after work began, and a revised series of measures, said Mr Price, could run up a bill of between £15million and £90million.