YESTERDAY’S flooding could not have been avoided, The Environment Agency has said.
Officials said the sheer volume of rain falling in a short space of time had overwhelmed the area’s drains.
Around 50mm of rain fell in the Havant and Emsworth area yesterday morning – the same as would normally be expected for the whole of June.
The flooding comes two years after a major flood in Emsworth when a ‘trash screen’ was blocked in a channel that drains water from the West Brook stream into Mill Pond.
Those screens were clear yesterday and sluice gates were opened by Environment Agency workers to allow the Mill Pond to drain into the sea.
Since the flood of two years ago, extra drainage channels have been installed in Bridge Road and they have been working at full capacity.
Officials said there had been no blockages or faults in equipment. However, Havant Borough Council reported that a private culvert to the north of the town at Hampshire Farm had become blocked.
Chris Clode, chairman of Emsworth Flood Action Group, likened the water flowing through the gates at the Mill Pond to Niagara Falls.
He said: ‘I have never seen the water flowing with such force. I don’t think there’s anything that could have been done about it. Until such time that preventative measures are put in further upstream, it will happen again.’
The Environment Agency is looking into installing ponds to the north of Emsworth to store some of the rainwater during storms.