BART have been out delivering school workshops about how Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) can help look after our rivers. We visited four classes at two schools near the Bristol Frome river with over one hundred children taking part. They were delighted with the Lego house models and did a fantastic job of designing SuDS for their own schools.
SuDS slow down rainwater, helping to reduce flooding and sewage overflow. Flooding is predicted to become more of an issue with our changing climate and the hard surfaces of our urban spaces means there is sometimes nowhere for water to go. When it rains heavily, our sewage systems get overwhelmed and untreated sewage overflows into our rivers. SuDS include all sorts of different measures to slow down or absorb rainwater; rain gardens, rain planters, permeable paving, green roofs, water butts, more plants….
The children learnt all about the issues and solutions in a fun and interactive way. BART’s SuDS Lego houses were a hit with volunteers acting as rain clouds, measuring and pouring water onto the houses, and everyone watching with interest. The children were quick to spot the advantages of the yellow house (with SuDS installed) compared to the red house (with no SuDS installed). Seeing the models allowed them to see how SuDS systems work in a memorable way.
Having paid close attention to BART’s Engagement and Education Officer and having made some brilliant contributions to discussion, the children designed changes they would like to see at their own schools. Children added ponds and green roofs, they chose where to put water butts and they thought about what SuDS were already in place.
BART were so impressed with the children’sideas and focus in all the workshops. We hope there have been lots of conversations with family and friends about how changes to our homes and communities can help our rivers. Perhaps you could add more vegetation to your garden or perhaps a water butt or rain planter?
The workshops were funded by the Environment Agency from their Water Environment Improvement Fund as part of a BART project focused on the Bristol Frome: Bristol Frome Reconnected. This project included river restoration, river cleans, Yellow Fish campaigns and survey work.