Schools on the Isle of Wight are helping to reduce the impact of heavy showers on local sewers – by slowing the flow of rainwater across their roofs and play areas.

Nettlestone Primary School and Haylands Primary School are embracing a number of innovative sustainable drainage installations which will reduce the risk of flooding and in turn help Southern Water cut the use of storm overflows.

Slowing the flow
By slowing the flow of water from hard surfaces like classroom roofs and playgrounds, sewers are less likely to see huge jumps in volume in short timeframes – which can go on to trigger storm water releases into the sea and local rivers in order to protect homes, businesses, schools and communities from flooding.

Both schools are having specially created swales installed in their grounds – long shallow channels, set in meadow grassland and home to other plants too. These hold water flowing down slopes on the site, allowing it to sink into the grass, rather than just running straight off into drains or becoming standing water.

Raingarden planters
They will also benefit from unique planters – also known as raingarden planters – which sit underneath drainpipes. These store surface water for a short while before it slowly returns to Southern Water’s network.

The schools are among more than 40 others across the region that had Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) installed as part of Southern Water’s £1.7m joint initiative with the Department of Education.

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