Rife is being watched amid flooding fears

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A CLOSE watch was being kept on the Pagham Rife this week.

The monitoring was needed to see how its swollen level was coping with excess water from the River Lavant at Chichester. Frequent heavy rain in the past months has caused the Environment Agency to put its temporary overflow measure in place.

This involves diverting thousands of litres of water from the river along the rife to go out to sea through Pagham Harbour.

Cllr Ray Radmall, Pagham Parish Council’s chairman, said he hoped the dry weather predicted for the first days of this year would ensure the situation did not escalate.

He was told by the agency on December 27 two cubic metres of water a second were being sent down the rife.

“The rife is already out of bank and there is the obvious concern about a lot of extra water being sent along it in those circumstances,” he said.

“I’m also concerned the silt in the rife in front of the harbour wall has not been cleared yet, though it was supposed to have been done before Christmas.

“But, although the situation with the rife is bad, I have known it to be worse. It’s a case of keeping our fingers crossed the forecasts of a few dry days are correct. But if it rains a lot more than the situation could become quite serious for us.”

Mill Farm estate residents, who border the rife, were also monitoring it, as well as farmers.