SOME older and disabled people are getting scared about being stuck in their homes during heavy rainfall, according to a councillor.
Cllr Jeff Jones, some of whose Killay ward was flooded in June, said the damage would have been worse had it not been for seven fire engines which pumped water away.
He sympathised with the workload of council staff who dealt with flooding incidents but felt new policies on drain clearance should be put in place.
“You can’t ignore the public’s fears,” he said.
“Older people, especially people who are disabled, are fearful of water coming into the house and not being to get out.”
Cllr Jones said he understood that council-owned drains were cleared every three years, and claimed that some weren’t even cleared that frequently.
“I think we really need to change our plans,” he said.
Cllr Jones was speaking at a council scrutiny meeting which addressed flood risk management in Swansea.
Officers said the last year had brought significant flooding problems, but that the council only had certain responsibilities.
Bob Fenwick, highways maintenance group leader, cited flood events in November 2019, February 2020 and June 2020.
He said staff with 35 years of experience “have never seen anything like it”.
He said: “They are saying the situation has changed massively – you’ve got to listen to them.
“I was on call on one of the storm surges – it’s probably the most dramatic experience I’ve had working for the council, and I’ve been here quite a long time.”
Mike Sweeney, drainage and coastal management team leader said around 100 properties were flooded during the three rainfall events – from Clydach to Birchgrove, Llansamet to Gorseinon, and Killay to Penllergaer.
“To have 100 properties affected by flooding is something I’ve never experienced before,” he said.
Councillors and officers reckoned that more intense rainfall linked to a warming climate was behind the problems.
Cllr Peter Jones said he believed the frequency and severity of such incidents would increase.
Cllr Mary Sherwood said she was concerned that preventative maintenance schedules might not be adhered to due to resource shortages, and said councillors could help officers clear roads ahead of gulley clearance work if they knew in advance when the work was happening.
Cllr Will Thomas asked if flooded households were given a pack explaining who they should contact, and who was responsible for what.
Mr Fenwick said the council had reviewed every roadside gulley and allocated six-month, 12-month or 36-month maintenance schedules.
He said his team worked very closely with street cleansing and that a “pre-storm” sweeping route had been established to help keep flood-prone streets free from flood water.
Mr Sweeney and three colleagues deal with flood risk management across Swansea.
Hydrology studies of three “critical” sites – Killay Square; Pentre Road, Waungron, and 330 Bichgrove Road, Birchgrove – have been completed, with two others under way.
Upgrades to watercourses at Furzeland Drive, Sketty, Libanus Road, Gorseinon, Garrod Avenue, Gowerton, and Clydach Road, Craigcefnparc, have been carried out.
Mr Sweeney said 10km of council assets had been checked with cameras since last year.
He said a lot of the funding for this sort of work had already been spent this year.
“Good work is being done, but it costs money,” he said.