Floods, trees and water butts. Have you been affected by the recent road closures due to flooding? The large volume of water that has fallen this autumn has to make its way into the aquifers, streams and rivers so, lets help it out! Are your down pipes from the building you live in discharging water into the sewerage system? If so please think about managing the water in a different way. You can get £25 pounds off of your water bill by disconnecting downpipes and redirecting them into a water storage system. This can be a water butt or a water feature in the garden. In the past whilst living outside of Reading I lived in a house that was not connected to the drainage system or water supply system; all our water was pumped from a well and I was able to source some brilliant water butts which had a flat back to stand against the house wall. They had a groove in the back with an overflow drain, so that when full the water flowed through a pipe and could be directed to a convenient soak away. Sadly I can’t find these butts on sale any more - if anyone knows of a supplier please let me know. So I would encourage all of you to try to direct your rainwater from the roof into storage butts and then into a soakaway. Soakaways are easily built. A hole as big as you can manage should be partially filled with rubble, a plastic membrane put over the top (anything plastic will do, its just to keep the soil from getting into the rubble) and some of the soil put back to provide a pleasant surface. Alternatively one can cover the rubble with gravel or leave the hole open and have a pond which will dry up in the summer (unless lined of course). The possibilities are endless but try to keep your water on your plot, letting it flow into sewers is causing havoc with the system. Ideally of course your soakaway should have some thirsty plants nearby. For all year round water uptake think conifer;, they come in all sizes. Mugo pines are very good - they look architectural, grow slowly and remain small but will use a lot of water year round. Evergreen shrubs are also a good bet, a good holly is J.C.van Tol. This holly is spineless and even a single plant will have berries. Usually two hollies are needed for berries (male and female) but van Tol is self fertile. It’s a slow grower and can be clipped but takes up water all year round. There are many other plants to choose from.Please come along to the Curry Woods Conservation Trust Open Evening in the Old School Room on December 8th at 7.30 (1930) when we will have an interesting talk by James Chapman about how Somerset County Council is tackling this flooding problem at one level by implementing a Tree Strategy across the County. Please come along and tell us how you plan to collect water and ask any questions about the SCC strategy, the CWCTrust’s strategy in Curry Rivel and ask for info. on water butts- we’d love to hear your views on the best butts!!!