Dunball sluice gets another 25 years
The Dunball Sluice is one of the Environment Agency’s most important tidal defence assets for Somerset. The sluice protects Bridgwater and villages in the Somerset Levels and Moors. It is the outlet into the Parrett for the water flowing from the River Sowy and the Kings Sedgemoor Drain. 4 gated culverts control water levels by releasing water into the Parrett when the tide permits. Equally it prevents the tide from bringing saltwater into the KSD.
Built in 1971, the sluice proved its value during the 2014 floods. There was a need to move water out of the system into the Parrett. But the tidal gates couldn’t be used due to the state of the tide. Then temporary pumps were set up at the sluice to pump water over the structure and into the river. Since 2014 upgrades have been made since to better accommodate temporary pumps deployed from the nearby Bradney depot.
A £4.2m refurbishment scheme will refurbish or renew mechanical and electrical components in Dunball Sluice. Once the work is completed, it should add an extra 25 years to the life of the structure. It will be mainly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). There will be £650,000 in partnership funding provided by Somerset Rivers Authority.
The refurbishment will also make environmental improvements too. These include encouraging the migration of eels and improve access for otters between the KSD and the River Parrett.
Work has already started on the refurbishment and is expected to be completed by 2024.