Adapting to Climate Change
Adaptation involves adjusting to the impacts of climate change.
Climate change projections suggest that over the next few decades, Three Rivers may experience:
- A 2°C increase in average annual temperatures.
- Hotter, drier summers with up to 25% less rainfall.
- Warmer, wetter winters with up to 22% more rainfall.
- Higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and severe flooding episodes.
There are simple steps we can all take to make our homes, our businesses and our communities more prepared for the impacts of climate change.
Approximately 4,400 properties in Three Rivers are at risk of flooding.
You can check if you are at risk of flooding here: Check the long term flood risk for an area in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you live in an area at risk of flooding you should sign up for free flood warnings sent to your mobile, home phone or email: https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings
It is also important to make sure you have insurance cover for flooding to your property and damage to its contents.
Minimise the impact of flooding:
Consider making your property resilient to flooding so that if a flood happens, your property will sustain less damage.
You can make your property flood resilient by:
- Laying tiles instead of carpets, especially at ground-floor level.
- Raising electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring higher up walls, ideally to 1.5 metres above floor level.
- Fitting flood boards to your doors and windows.
- Having a supply of sandbags or purpose-built flood guards that can be quickly fitted when flooding is imminent. These can divert floodwater and stop it seeping through gaps in external doors, such as front and patio doors.
- Fitting "non-return" values to drain-pipes and other pipes that could allow waste water to back-up during a flood.
- Raising damp-proof courses and sealing floors.
- Investing in water-resistant or plastic skirting boards, or varnishing wooden skirting boards to minimise water damage.
- Applying water resistant membranes to exterior walls.
- Getting covers to seal airbricks and pet flaps in the event of a flood.
- Ensuring your gutters and drains are free of debris such as leaves and silt.
You can also landscape your garden and driveway in a way that helps divert water away from your property and in to the ground. Ways to reduce the quantity and flow of floodwater impacting your property include:
- Maximising “soft” green landscaping. Front gardens with grasses, shrubs and trees allow water to permeate through the surface in to the ground below.
- Using gravel, permeable block paving, porous asphalt or porous concrete on your driveway, to allow water to drain through the surface.
- Creating two wheel tracks with a hard surface and filling in the surrounding area with permeable gravel or grass.
- Directing water from impermeable surfaces like concrete, to a green border or soakaway.
- Creating living or “green” roofs on sheds or garages, which have plants like mosses, lichens, sedums and even small shrubs growing on them to soak up rainfall.
- Creating a pond in your garden.
- Creating shallow ditches or “swales” to collect excess water in low-lying areas.
- Installing a water butt on your property can retain some of the water in heavy rainfall and reduce the amount of water expelled from your pipes in to drains. You can use the water collected by a butt to water your garden, fill a bird bath, or wash your car.
Three Rivers residents can get discounted water butts from Get Composting.
Prepare for a flood:
Prepare a flood plan to guide you on what to do in the event of a flood. Flood plans can help to reduce the impact of flooding on your home, business or community.
You can download a free flood plan template from the Environment Agency here: LIT 4112 Personal flood Plan v1 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Flood plans should include:
- A list of useful contact numbers - including your local council, utility providers, your insurance company, doctor’s surgeries or vet surgeries.
- Contact numbers of any vulnerable friends, family or neighbours that you could help, or details of people that could help you if needed.
- Information on how to shut off your electricity, gas, and water supplies.
- A list of valuable belongings that are most important to move to a place of safety – e.g. higher ground, upstairs, in a loft or attic, on high-mounted shelves, or in waterproof plastic bags - during a flood. These belongings may include key documents, furniture, technology, pets, and vehicles.
Prepare an emergency flood kit with essential items that will help you cope in a flood, including:
- Insurance, bank, and identifying documents and a list of emergency contact numbers
- Torch and spare batteries
- First aid kit, any prescription medicines or medical devices
- Essential toiletries e.g. toothbrush and toothpaste, nappies, or period products
- Warm waterproof clothes and blankets
- Clean water and snacks
- Mobile phone or portable radio with batteries and chargers
- Spare house / car keys
- Cash or cheque book
- Whistle (for attracting attention)
- Notebook and pen/pencil
- Supplies for looking after children and/or pets
Make sure that everyone knows where to find this kit and what to do if flooding happens.
You can keep up to date with flood warnings and get more advice and information by contacting the Environment Agency’s 24-hour Floodline service: 0345 988 1188
Find out more about flooding here.
Drought and Water Stress:
Drier summers will put pressure on the availability of water for drinking, washing and irrigation, so using water carefully will become increasingly important.
There are some simple things you can do to save water including:
- Collecting rainwater in water butts attached to the down pipe of a roof (including shed roofs). Water butts help to conserve water by reducing mains water usage for activities that do not require drinking quality water - like watering your garden or washing vehicles.
Three Rivers residents can get discounted water butts.
- Installing water saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and taps, shower timers, and cistern hippos to reduce your household’s water consumption.
Three Rivers residents can get free water-saving devices from Affinity Water.
- Taking shorter showers, ideally limited to 4 minutes.
- Avoiding leaving water running while washing your face or brushing your teeth.
- Using dishwashers and washing machines only when they are fully loaded.
- Fixing dripping taps and leaky toilets– leaky taps can waste more than 60 litres of water a week!
- Re-using “greywater” from washing up to water garden plants. (Do not use on fruit or vegetables you intend to eat).
- Avoiding using hoses or sprinklers to water the garden. Instead, in spring and summer, water your plants with a watering can early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and the water is least likely to evaporate.
- Mowing grass less frequently in late spring and summer. Longer grass is more drought-resistant.
- Choosing drought-tolerant plants which require less water.
- Mulching your garden with a protective layer of material such as pebbles, gravel, chipped bark or grass clippings to prevent moisture loss from the soil.
As summer temperatures increase, we will experience more frequent and extreme hot weather events which increases the risk of overheating.
You can prepare your home for hot weather by:
- Provide shading with blinds, curtains, shutters or awnings to keep sun and heat out.
- Insulating your home (roof, loft, floors and walls) not only keeps your home warm in colder weather, it also keeps it cooler in hotter weather.
- Replacing carpets with solid flooring like stone or ceramic tiles.
- Painting your outside walls and roof a white, or another light colour to reflect heat away from your home.
- Planting trees or large shrubs to create a valuable area of shade in your garden.
You can stay cool in hot weather by:
- Opening the windows at the highest and lowest points in the house, or on opposite sides of the house, in cooler parts of the day and night.
- Closing windows (particularly south-facing windows) and curtains or blinds during the warmest parts of the day to trap cool air inside.
- Spending time indoors or in the shade between 11am to 3pm when the sun is strongest.
- Protecting your skin from burning by regularly applying SPF 30+ sunscreen, keeping your skin covered, and wearing a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding excess alcohol.
- Avoiding exercise in the hottest parts of the day.
- Avoiding using the oven indoors. Instead, try cold meals like salads and sandwiches.
- Taking short cold showers just before you sleep.
- Keeping medications in the fridge if they need to be stored below 25 degrees Celsius.
- Never leaving people or animals in a closed, parked vehicle.
Look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated. Young infants, older people, and those with chronic health conditions are at greatest risk of overheating.
Useful Contacts in an Emergency:
For life-threatening emergencies that require the police, fire service or an ambulance, call 999.
- Hertfordshire Police Non-Emergency: 101
- NHS Medical Help Non-emergency: 111
- Environment Agency Incident Hotline: 0800 807 060
- Three Rivers District Council Emergency Contact: 01923 776 611
- Three Rivers Citizens Advice Service: 0344 245 1296
- National Grid (to report gas leaks): 0800 111 999
- UK Power Networks (to report loss of electricity): 0800 316 3105
- Environment Agency Floodline: 0345 988 1188
- Hertfordshire Highways (for flooding on highways): 0300 123 4047
- Thames Water (for sewage flooding in your home): 0800 316 9800
- Affinity Water 24-hour Emergency Line: 0345 357 2407
- National Flood Forum: 01299 403 055
Fire and Rescue:
- Kings Langley Fire Station: 01923 262 787
- Rickmansworth Fire Station: 01923 481 200
Hertfordshire’s radio stations will give accurate and up to date information to keep local people fully informed in an emergency.
Local radio stations:
- BBC London - 94.9FM
- BBC Three Counties - 92.1FM, 95.5FM, 103.8FM, 104.5FM, 630AM, 1161AM
- LBC - 97.3FM, 1152AM
- Heart – 96-107FM