In the summer of 2007 Gloucestershire suffered one of the worst emergencies ever seen in the county due to extensive flooding. The summer of 2007 was one of the wettest on record. Heavy rainfall at the end of June led to flooding in some areas in Gloucestershire, both from surface water overloading the drainage systems and very high water levels in main rivers and brooks. But during July, rains were even heavier. On 20th July, two months’ rain fell in just 14 hours resulting in two major emergencies – widespread flooding and tap water shortages affecting 350,000 people. It is estimated that the flooding and water crisis cost the county of Gloucestershire £50 million.
Altogether 5,000 homes and businesses were flooded and 48,000 homes were without electricity for two days. The cutting of electricity supply to 5,000,000 people was narrowly avoided due to the concerted efforts of the emergency services and the army. 1,950 people (including 490 children) were provided with temporary accommodation. 10,000 motorists were stranded on county roads, including the M5 where many people remained overnight, and 500 commuters were stranded at Gloucester train station. 135,000 homes (over half the homes in Gloucestershire) were without drinking water for up to 17 days. 40 million bottles of drinking water were distributed and 1,400 mobile water tanks were deployed.
This event provided a mass of information about the effects of flooding on a wide area including housing, industry and commerce, agriculture, power and water infrastructure and communications infrastructure. The IDEA project will trace who has collected what data and how, in regard to this event in order to suggest ways that data collection, storage and retrieval can be standardised in the EU to enable this valuable resource to be used across countries to inform prediction, prevention and mitigation measures.