SEPA sorry for flood alarm failure

Homes and business were flooded without warning when an automatic system set up to send text alerts about rising water failed.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has now apologised for the fault which meant its area duty officer didn’t get a text message about high water to their mobile.

The flooding happened overnight last Wednesday (19 August) in the upper reaches of the Ettrick Valley in the Borders.

The agency’s gauging station at Deephope on the Tima Water, a tributary of the Ettrick Water, rose above alarm levels and warnings should have gone to several groups in the valley.

However, no warnings were sent because of what SEPA describes as an ‘unforeseen technical malfunction’ in its handling system, which forwards alarms as text messages.

A spokesman for SEPA said: “We would like to apologise to Borders residents for a failure in their flood warning system and would like to reassure them the system has now been checked and the fault corrected.”

SEPA also said it had no weather warning for heavy rainfall for the Borders from the Met Office, which would have also triggered a ‘Borders Flood Watch’.

Luke Walsh

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