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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jubilee-river-flood-alleviation-scheme/jubilee-river-flood-alleviation-scheme
The Jubilee River scheme was built by the Environment Agency and it opened in 2002. The scheme reduces the risk of flooding to over 3,000 properties in Maidenhead, Windsor, Eton and Cookham.
The Jubilee River diverts river water from the River Thames upstream of Maidenhead, running parallel and to the north of the river, and rejoins the Thames downstream of Windsor.
Under normal conditions, the Jubilee River provides a local recreational and wildlife amenity. In flood conditions, further water is diverted from the Thames and into the Jubilee River. This reduces flood levels in the River Thames running through Maidenhead, Windsor, Eton and Cookham.
Along the length of the Jubilee River are several weirs that keep water at levels similar to those experienced in the River Thames. The scheme also incorporates flood embankments to the north of Maidenhead and the west and north of Cookham.
The Jubilee River reduces flood risk to properties by increasing the total flood capacity of the channels flowing through the area. While it does not protect communities downstream of the scheme, it operates so that flood levels downstream are not adversely affected.
Here is a film of the Jubilee River in action:
Latest update: December 2014
Following the flooding last winter, the Environment Agency inspected their flood defence assets with assistance from the military. They carried out surveys along the Jubilee River flood relief channel to show the cross section of the river bed.
The results of these surveys, along with some follow-up investigations by divers, identified where maintenance work is needed on the channel. The Environment Agency are removing silt and gravel that has built up during last winter. They are also returning the profile of the river bed to its original shape. These works do not increase the flood risk downstream of the Jubilee River.
This work does not prevent the Environment Agency from operating the Jubilee River if required. Emergency measures have been put in place to ensure any equipment in the water can be safely stored or removed from the river if it needs to be used.
Jubilee River in the 2003 floods
Over 1,000 homes in the Maidenhead area were protected from flooding by the scheme, which was called into action only a few months after the Jubilee River was opened.
There was concern amongst some members of the communities downstream of the Jubilee River that the scheme had worsened flooding in their area. An independent review considered this concern in detail and in March 2004 concluded that maximum flood level downstream was not affected by the Jubilee River.
During the 2003 floods, physical damage to the Jubilee River channel and structures occurred. Repairs were completed and the scheme operated successfully in December 2012 without incurring physical damage.
No damage has been identified by Environment Agency staff during the 2014 flooding.
For more information, email: WTenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk