How 80-year-old Anne deals with chronic flooding problems at her Welsh cottage

Anne is 80 and for years has had serious flooding problems at her home in Wales but a major Government organisation has helped her to solve them.

Traditional sandbags were way too heavy for Anne to move and carry and they simply weren’t up to the job anyway but everything changed for Anne when Natural Resources Wales gave her boxes of FloodSax alternative sandbags. 

She faced a unique triple flooding problem with a river flowing near her cottage in Snowdonia National Park and water cascading down a mountain behind it along with a stream running underneath her home.

That means floodwater needed both stopping AND soaking up … and FloodSax can do both. Sandbags can only help to stop water but they aren’t particularly effective at that. 

FloodSax resemble large pillowcases until they come into contact with water. The semi-porous inner liner within FloodSax contains a special gelling polymer which absorbs 20 kilos of water so they miraculously expand to become instant ‘sandbags’ but without the sand. It also means they absorb water by soaking it up, making FloodSax ideal for internal floods, leaks and spills, especially in hard-to-reach places. 

Anne said: “I just couldn’t lift sandbags as they are way too heavy. I put FloodSax against the steps in the hallway and by the door to soak up any floodwater so they don’t usually fully expand before I move them which makes them so manageable. I even pop one over the drain in the downstairs shower room in case water backs up through there. 

“I can store them in the kitchen as they are so light and easy to keep on a shelf. They are quite pleasant to look at too – so much better than sandbags that wouldn’t be so nice to see. I just grab them when I need them. I’d recommend them to anyone who has to use sandbags.” 

Anne was first provided with FloodSax by Natural Resources Wales about 5 years ago and would now never go back to traditional sandbags. 

Natural Resources Wales employs 1,900 staff across Wales with a budget of £180 million. It was formed in April 2013 to take over the functions of the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales, as well as certain Welsh Government functions. It is responsible for protecting the environment and prosecuting those who break the regulations.