Flooding can devastate local communities. Photo by Chris Gallagher on free photo website Unsplash. Flooding can devastate local communities. Photo by Chris Gallagher on free photo website Unsplash.

Almost quarter of a million homes are at risk of flooding in Wales … and that figure is due to increase alarmingly in the years ahead.

The gloomy outlook comes from the Welsh Government as it considers how to tackle this ever growing risk which will eventually include areas now not deemed to be at risk from flooding.

Its Draft National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales states: “Across Wales over 245,000 properties are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and surface water with almost 400 properties also at risk from coastal erosion.

“As the climate changes we can expect those risks to increase with more frequent and severe floods, rising sea levels and faster rates of erosion of the coast. This is likely to mean more communities will be affected by flooding and coastal erosion, including some that are not currently considered to be at risk.”

The report warns: “Difficult decisions will need to be made as to where investment is made. Climate change will bring rising sea levels and more intense storms. It brings significant challenges of how to defend low-lying coastal areas and fluvial floodplains, in particular along estuaries. Our risk management approach encourages wider resilience, prevention and awareness of risk so that better decisions can be made.”

The approach outlined in the consultation includes plans for green infrastructure, a new direction in sustainable drainage and better flood risk maps.

The main measures proposed in the consultation document include:

* Make new flood risk maps for Wales available online.

* Provide data on the number of properties at high, medium, and low risk of flooding from all sources.

* Update all plans, maps, and data.

* Gather better information on the precise impacts of flooding events.

* Encourage more funding partnership contributions. 

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for the Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs said: "This new strategy will help build resilience, prioritise investment to the most at-risk communities and prevent more people becoming exposed to risk.

"However, with the growing impact of climate change we have to clearly communicate how we cannot prevent all flood and coastal risk. Everyone has a role to play and we need a long-term strategy and appropriate measures to help us deal with the challenges that this global problem presents."

The consultation runs from 24 June to 16 September.

Homeowners and businesses often don’t realise that councils have no responsibility to provide sandbags if flooding is expected. They must protect themselves and one way to do this is to have FloodSax alternative sandbags which are space-saving to store and easy to deploy. Once they come into contact with water they inflate to weigh 20kg (44lbs) which makes them more effective than traditional sandbags at keeping floodwater out.

More than 2.5 million have now been sold worldwide.