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Case studies

Working with Whalley’s Flood Action Group to proactively mitigate flood impacts across the village 

Whalley, a village situated in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, has a history of significant flooding incidents, particularly in 2012, 2015, and 2020.


Whalley, a village situated in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, has a history of significant flooding incidents, particularly in 2012, 2015, and 2020. The village is located alongside the River Calder and has a smaller watercourse, Wiswell Brook, flowing beneath its main street through a culvert. The culvert is equipped with a trash screen on its upstream side, which is prone to blockages and necessitates regular maintenance to remove debris and reduce the risk of flooding. This screened culvert represents one of the primary sources of flood risk for the town.  


In 2015, the floods resulted in severe damage, affecting over 300 homes and businesses and requiring the rescue of numerous residents.

In response to these challenges, the village established the Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group (WBFAG) to collaborate with local authorities and explore measures to mitigate the risk of future flooding. 


Previsico’s level sensor measures water depth in the Wiswell Brook culvert, immediately upstream of the trash screen.

WBFAG members can access the sensor data in near real-time via a dashboard and warnings are issued when critical water depths are detected, enabling them to take preventative action. 


Since its installation in 2020, the sensor has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness as a prevention tool during multiple events.

The critical warnings provided by the sensor have enabled flood wardens to promptly clear the trash screen, effectively preventing the village from flooding. 

The on-site sensor, provided by Previsico, has significantly reduced anxiety among village residents by allowing them to prepare in advance, safeguard their valuables, and evacuate vulnerable individuals to safety.

This incident highlights the successful utilisation of timely and actionable information from Previsico by the local Flood Action Group, resulting in the prevention of losses.  

By leveraging this advanced technology, the village of Whalley not only protected their properties but also enhanced the overall resilience of the community, avoiding potential disruptions to roads and essential services. 

The Sensor in Action

This graph shows an incident where the water level at the culvert in Whalley was increasing above the agreed threshold (yellow line). The sensor registered these changes in water levels and then alerted the WBFAG members. Members then arrived on site to see that there was debris blocking the culvert, causing the water levels to increase (shown in the centre image). As soon as it was cleared the water level returned to normal. On this occasion the sensor provided three separate alerts in the space of a few hours and prevented any flooding from occurring.  

In 2020, the alert went off on Boxing Day evening at around 11pm. It alerted our flood wardens and we managed to get to the culvert and clear it before it flooded the village. We can only recommend this type of technology as it is the way forward in flood management tools.
Gill DarbyshireWhalley and Billington Flood Action Group
Listen to a more comprehensive break down of our successful work in Whalley