Old waterways could be key in the fight against flooding - but do you know where they are?

Boxing day flood in Hebden Bridge. Albert Street and New Road under water.
Boxing day flood in Hebden Bridge. Albert Street and New Road under water.

Hidden drains and ponds could be key in the fight against flooding - but the Environment Agency needs YOUR help to find them.

The agency wants to produce a detailed map of old water ways to determine whether they could be brought back to use, but it wants to tap into local knowledge to pinpoint where they might be.

Andrew Coen, the Environment Agency’s lead engineer for the Calder Catchment, said: “A number of local people and landowners have asked whether we can make use of the large network of historic but now redundant water infrastructure which was built in the 19th century to power local mills.

“Although we have a lot of information about the Victorian water infrastructure, there will undoubtedly be features which have not been mapped but which are still known by local people. Some of these could be significant in helping us to work out whether they could be upgraded and used again manage flood risk in the valley.

“We are also keen to learn more about existing and historic land drainage systems so we can better understand the role they have now and the role they might have in the future to help reduce flooding.”

As well as identifying the locations of the old water control structures and drains, the Environment Agency is seeking details of their depth, size and condition.

“We would like to build a comprehensive map of this surviving infrastructure and the local knowledge of landowners, farmers, historians, hikers, builders and members of every community in the Calder Valley will be essential in helping us to gather the data we need,” added Mr Coen

It is not currently known how much, if any, of the area’s historic water infrastructure could be potentially re-used to manage flood risk or whether the benefits of bringing certain parts of it up to modern standards would be cost effective.

Following last December’s devastating floods in the Calder Valley, the Environment Agency was asked by the Secretary of State to put together a detailed catchment plan to manage and reduce the risk of flooding in Calderdale over the next 25 years.

The plan has been put together by the Environment Agency, its partners and the community through a series of workshops over the summer. The plan will be published in full in October.

If you have information about any historic water infrastructure, land drains, ponds or any other assets which you think could be used to manage flooding, visit http://tinyurl.com/calderdaleheritageinfo