The Old West Internal Drainage Board was originally constituted in 1842 and its District is located to the north west of the City of Cambridge. The District forms part of the South Level fens with the Old West River forming the northern boundary and the Waterbeach Level District the eastern boundary. To the south and west, the District boundary is formed by the higher lands surrounding Cambridge.
Cottenham Lode bisects the District running south to north to discharge by gravity into the Old West River. It is necessary for the Board to utilise a number of under Cottenham Lode culverts to effect drainage of their District.
The District boundary encompasses 4,487.6ha. most of which is a pumped catchment. A considerable area of highland, outside the District is drained to the Board’s pumped catchment.
One small area of the District at Rampton is drained via Reynolds Ditch, which under normal conditions discharges, by gravity to Cottenham Lode. Under flood conditions it discharges to the Board’s pumped catchment.
This area/Reynolds Ditch will be affected by proposals for the Northstowe new town and is currently subject to discussion with developers.
The lower areas of the District are adjacent to the Old West River and natural drainage is from south to north.
The Board undertake their drainage/water level management responsibilities by designating and maintaining a network of 87km. of drains, which gravitate to the Board’s pumping stations.
The Board operate two pumping stations which discharge to the Old West River, Queenholme and Chear Fen. The Board own and maintain a third pumping station at Smithy Fen, which is not part of the current designed pumping capacity of the District but could be operated if required. This also discharges to the Old West River.