The Swaffham Internal Drainage Board was originally constituted in 1853 and its District is situated north east of the City of Cambridge, part of the “South Level Fens”.
The District boundary encloses an area of 5234ha. with a total pumped catchment of 6070ha.
The eastern boundary of the District is formed by the River Cam. The District extends to the Wicken Ridge in the north and to the edge of the fen in the east, where the peat fen runs into the chalk slopes and high sandy heath land of Suffolk.
The District is intersected by the “Lodes” – Wicken, Burwell, Reach, Swaffham and Bottisham which form seven distinct and separate catchments which are drained to the Board’s single pumping station site at Upware.
The District comprises mainly of high grade agricultural land much of which is below mean sea level and considerably below “flood level” and is therefore totally reliant on pumped drainage for its existence as it has been for many years.
The Board undertake their drainage/water level management responsibilities by designating and maintaining a network of 80km. of drains which gravitate to the Board’s Upware Pumping Station. Water levels are terraced/controlled from the upper reaches, at a number of structures in the Board’s drains to the Upware Pumping Station where surplus land drainage water is discharged to the River Cam.