To mark the end of an innovative programme to remove surface water from the wastewater network in Llanelli, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water recently donated £11,000 to support 11 local community project to make a difference in the community. This was in addition to a £10k Rainscape community fund which was launched at the start of the project, which supported many other community benefits.
In 2012 Welsh Water launched its innovative programme `RainScape’, which manages surface water and reduces sewer flooding. Over £115 million was invested in Llanelli, Burry Port and Gowerton between 2012 and 2020. This resulted in around 600 Olympic sized swimming pools of surface water being removed from the wastewater network.
With the help of contract partners, Morgan Sindall, Welsh Water has completed 36 RainScape projects in the Llanelli area since the start of the project. This has involved laying around 14 miles of new pipework and kerb drainage, tunnelling just under one mile underground to create rainwater sewers and planting almost 10,000 plants and trees in swales, planters and basins. All these interventions slow down the rate the water enters the network by redirecting it to local rivers and watercources, and in some cases, removing it completely.
To involve the local community with this exciting project, Welsh Water created three RainScape schools. These were Stebonheath Primary School (pictured above), Halfway Community Primary School, and Dafen Primary School. Over 1,144 pupils in Llanelli received education sessions from Welsh Water’s Education team on the benefits of the programme.
Working with the pupils and teachers at Stebonheath Primary School, the investment has transformed the playground by incorporating a pond, a swale (a vegetated channel), a range of trees and plants, planters, an outdoor educational area and water-saving water butts. These features help to absorb the surface water which used to run straight off the playground into the sewer network.
Steve Wilson, Managing Director for Wastewater, Business Customers and Energy at Welsh Water, said: “We are proud to have completed our RainScape projects in the Llanelli community, which was the first of its kind in the UK. RainScape is now preventing around 1.5 million cubic metres per year from entering the sewer network in Llanelli, meaning this rainwater is not being unnecessarily pumped and treated and is going straight back into the environment.”
Councillor John Jenkins, who received funding on behalf of The Rose Garden Project said, “The Rose Garden Project is a fantastic local community group which has brought an old rose garden back to life. The support of Dŵr Cymru Rainscape will ensure that sustainable water sources will be used to maintain the garden and will ensure less water goes into the public sewer making the project even more environmentally friendly.”