THREE projects to reduce flood risks and improve the environment have been carried out on the Somerset Levels.

The works at Egypt’s Clyse on Othery Rhyne and on the Moorlinch and Westmoor Raised Water Level Areas are part of Somerset Rivers Authority’s (SRA) plan to enhance the River Sowy-King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) system.

SRA says enabling the system to carry more floodwater will help to protect 150 square miles of land and upgrading a number of water control features boosts habitats of international ecological importance.

The Sowy-KSD works are being delivered for Somerset Rivers Authority by the Environment Agency, partly using Growth Deal Funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr David Hall, chairman of SRA, said: “The projects at Egypt’s Clyse, Moorlinch and Westmoor have involved around 100 separate pieces of work.

"They’ve included the installation of new culverts, tilting weirs, headwalls and walkways, and the fitting of trench sheet dams and earth bunds with non-return valves to stop water coming back. Siphons have been jetted and lots of new protective fencing put up.

“Careful attention has been paid to small details. For example, two tilting weirs have been lowered because they were 20 centimetres too high and therefore simply didn’t work very well. Together, all these improvements will help SRA partners to better control local flood risks. They’ll also benefit farmers and wildlife because they allow for better management of water levels at some special places.”

Of particular importance is the work at Egypt’s Clyse, the water control structure that sits at the confluence of Othery Rhyne and King’s Sedgemoor Drain.

Othery Rhyne connects Langacre Rhyne, which runs alongside the River Sowy as a flood relief channel for the River Parrett, and King’s Sedgemoor Drain.

Othery Rhyne is used by the Environment Agency to move water between the Langacre and King’s Sedgemoor Drain, for flood (and drought) control and for agricultural and environmental benefits. A strong twin-walled culvert has replaced a crushed and sinking mess of corrugated iron, and protective steel trench sheets now stand in place of temporary timber piles.

John Rowlands, of the Environment Agency, said: “Egypt’s Clyse is a very under-rated structure. It plays a really important role in the vastly complicated system of water management on the Levels, because it helps us move water from a wide area from place to place. The improvements here are good news for local homeowners, businesses, farmers and wildlife.”

The works at Egypt’s Clyse and on Moorlinch were done by contractors Land & Water, on Westmoor by contractors Bernard Perry.

Enhancements to the main channels of the Sowy and King’s Sedgemoor Drain are currently expected to be done between August and October 2021.