NI Water, the Department for Infrastructure, Education Authority and the Department of Education are pleased to announce that an innovative new rainwater garden to help reduce the risk of flooding has been completed at Clandeboye Primary School.
£70,000 has been invested in the garden, which is an innovative flagship project for NI Water and the Department for Infrastructure, and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The garden demonstrates how sustainable design can reduce the risk of flooding, whilst also enhancing the environment and providing a valuable educational resource.
NI Water previously invested £1.7 million on a new Pumping Station within the grounds of Clandeboye Primary School. This was part of the overall ongoing £10 million investment to improve the infrastructure, reduce the risk of flooding and improve bathing water quality in the Bangor area.
On completion of this project, the Rainwater Garden was constructed utilising funding from the Department for Infrastructure, which represents a further £70,000 investment.
The rainwater garden is a simple concept, which collects water run-off from the school roof and playground area, which is collected in an underground storage tank disguised as a turtle.
When the water within the storage tank builds up to a certain level, a valve opens and allows the water to run down a channel, which will be used by the school children as a “duck run” play facility.
The rainwater then travels into two split-level ponds within the rainwater garden area, which provides further storage. This process reduces the rate at which the storm water reaches the local watercourse – Clandeboye Stream, lowering the risk of flooding in this area of Clandeboye.
Sara Venning, NI Water’s Chief Executive said:
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and one of our customer promises is to protect and enhance the natural environment – which this scheme undoubtedly delivers.
“This is a great example of how we can encourage the engineers of the future to think outside the box and create sustainable drainage solutions, which help to manage storm water and reduce flood risk for our customers in an innovative way.
“I would like to thank Clandeboye Primary School, the Department for Infrastructure, Education Authority and the Department of Education, as well as all our stakeholders and elected representatives in the local community for their support throughout this project.”
Linda MacHugh, Director of Water and Drainage, Department for Infrastructure added:
“There have been many significant flood events during the last ten years, which have had a severe impact on homes and businesses throughout Northern Ireland, highlighting the vulnerability of many communities to flooding and the need to improve our critical drainage infrastructure.
“The Rainwater Garden is an excellent example of an innovative sustainable solution to flood risk and demonstrates joined up government working together, and we plan to adopt this approach in future projects.”
Roger Sayers, the Education Authority’s Assistant Director for Infrastructure and Capital Development, said:
“The Education Authority is delighted to have been able to work in partnership with NI Water, the Department for Infrastructure and the pupils and staff of Clandeboye PS to delivery this sustainable and educational drainage solution, which is a first for the education estate in Northern Ireland. As well as reducing the potential for flooding in both the school and the wider area, it also offers fantastic learning opportunities that can be applied across a wide range of subject areas.”
Julie Thomas, Principal of Clandeboye Primary School commented:
“Clandeboye Primary School are delighted with the Rainwater Garden, which is a great asset to the school.
“The children have a great opportunity here to safely learn in a practical way about living with water in familiar surroundings, as well as the importance of biodiversity. We are looking forward to seeing the many plants and wildlife blooming in the garden in the Spring and Summer months.”
(L-R) Julie Thomas – Principal Clandeboye School, Rosalind Neill Department of Education, Sara Venning NI Water, Roger Sayers Education Authority, Linda MacHugh Department for Infrastructure and Clare Brady from the Department of Education pictured with pupils marking the launch of the Rainwater garden.