Element 3: Storing flood water

A peatland restored to its function as a natural sponge

At least three million people depend on water which falls as rain in the Pumlumon Project area

It is now widely accepted that there is a direct link between upland land management and the severity of lowland flooding. Previous studies have shown how strategic tree planting, restoring hedgerows, fencing out watercourses and reducing stocking levels all help to increase the permeability of upland soils, reducing rapid run-off during heavy rain.

At 752m, Pumlumon is the highest point of the Cambrian Mountains, which are themselves the largest watershed in Wales. The Pumlumon Project area consists of more than 3,700ha of hydrologically active habitats. These include wet heath, raised bog, blanket mire, valley mire, and wet woodland. Small wonder that Pumlumon is the source of eight major river systems: the Severn, Wye, Rheidol, Ystwyth, Elan, Teifi, Tywi and Irfon. Three million people depend upon them for water.

A dried-out peatland

How we are increasing upland storage capacity

Our ditch blocking work (see Element 1) affected the water-holding capacity of a 1,013ha catchment area, raising the water table by an average five centimetres and retaining an extra 155 million litres.