Lack of water sees Emsworth’s dragon boat race halted

12/8/2012 (PM)''Emsworth Dragon Boat Race was cancelled on Sunday after the Mill Pond was emptied by the Environment Agency because of risk of flooding.''Pictured is: Landlord of The Bluebell Inn Pub in South Street, Emsworth Giles Babb, at the Mill Pond.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122666-2096)

12/8/2012 (PM)''Emsworth Dragon Boat Race was cancelled on Sunday after the Mill Pond was emptied by the Environment Agency because of risk of flooding.''Pictured is: Landlord of The Bluebell Inn Pub in South Street, Emsworth Giles Babb, at the Mill Pond.''Picture: Sarah Standing (122666-2096)

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A dragon boat race that was originally postponed due to heavy rainfall has been cancelled again – because the pond was too dry.

The event in Emsworth was due to take place on Sunday at the Mill Pond, but was called off because there wasn’t enough water in the area.

The event, organised by Emsworth Residents’ Association, Dragon Boat Events and Emsworth Sailing Clubs, was postponed and a new date is being planned for September.

“The date that we’re working towards is yet to be confirmed but the date that is looking convenient for most people is September 8,” said Lorraine Clode, chairman of Emsworth Residents’ Association.

“The reason for the postponement was the fact the water could not be kept in the Mill Pond, with the Environment Agency running the sluice gate. Hopefully by September that will be absolutely resolved and it will be third time lucky”

The reason was a complete contrast to April, when the event was cancelled due to high winds and heavy rainfall.

Environment Agency area manager James Humphrys said: “It’s a great shame that the dragon boat race couldn’t take place this weekend due to lower water levels on the Emsworth Mill Pond. The water level in the pond is controlled by a tidal sluice for flood risk purposes. The level was dropped the previous weekend to reduce the risk of flooding to properties, in preparation for predicted thunderstorms.

“We would usually expect levels to rise again over the next few high tides or due to rainfall. Unfortunately, lower seasonal tides, combined with a fault on the automated sluice, meant that the level of the Mill Pond did not rise back to the level required for the boat race. We have now fixed the fault and levels will rise over the next few days,” added Mr Humphrys.

Dragon Boat Events are keen to see their boats take to the Mill Pond when the newly-scheduled event takes place.

“We are all really enthusiastic and keen to see the event go ahead again and we just want it to be a success,” said Roger Irwin, managing director.

“There is major enthusiasm for the dragon boat race. There is so much potential and we would love to see the event grow in stature.”

Giles Babb, landlord of the Bluebell Inn, which had two teams entered, said: “It is frustrating for us, but we are looking forward to taking part in the event again.”