What caused the York 2000 flood?
- The catchment area of the River Ouse north of York covers an area of 3000 square kilometres. The larger the size of the tributaries and the more tributaries there are. the quicker the water will flow into the main river - and this increases the likelihood of floods.
- The flooding was the result of the wettest autumn since records began in 1766. After prolonged rain, around 250mm of rain then fell over a 2-week period between 26 October and 8 November 2000. Drainage basins were already fully saturated, and could not hold any more water, so it ran straight into the rivers.
- York is sited at the confluence (place where rivers meet) of the River Ouse and the River Foss, which also increases the risk of flooding.
- The tributaries of the Ouse begin in the Yorkshire dales and the North York moors, where the land is steep, so water flows quickly into rivers.
- The removal of peat from the moors, and forest from slopes, has encouraged water to reach the rivers more quickly.
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- Changes in farming methods on the flood plains allow water to drain more quickly into rivers.
- The growth of York and surrounding towns and villages, and the buildings of new roads, cover land with concrete and tarmac. These are impermeable and so speed up run-off into the rivers.
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How well is York protected from flooding?
- North street - This part of York city centre includes many shops, housing and commercial properties. In 1992 and 1993 a series of flood gates and walls were constructed to protect the area.
- The Foss Barrier - The whole scheme was constructed in1987 for £3.34 million. During November 2000 the worked continually, well beyond its design limits, pumping 23 million gallons of water each hour into the Ouse.
- Lower Bootham - The flood of 1982 caused £1.2 million of damage to 134 properties. In 1983 a scheme was developed, involving the construction of a 650 metre earthen flood bank, together with a 280 metre reinforced concrete wall. Each house has a steel gate and wall near the front door for added protection.
- Acomb Landing - This is the location of the water treatment works that provides fresh drinking water to York. It is vital to the city that this site remains free from food contamination. After the 1982 flood, a reinforced wall was added to the existing embankments.
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