Despite huge parts of Cumbria being under water during Storm Desmond last winter, it still came as a huge shock when news broke earlier this week that flooding had returned to the county.

Water levels may have been far lower than the ones people experienced in December but it will come as no consolation to the scores of residents and businesses affected this time around.

And while the water may leave with it dirt and destruction it has also left previous victims of floods fearing they may have to go through the trauma again when winter rolls around.

Although many residents and communities have been critical of the work of the authorities such as Cumbria County Council and the Environment Agency (EA), both say that work is progressing and but warn that the task ahead of them still remains huge.

Kathryn Tanner, flood recovery manager for Cumbria and Lancashire says: “We are working with partners including the County Council, Lake District National Park Authority, district councils and United Utilities to repair defences and prepare the communities of Cumbria for winter.

The Environment Agency says their works programme is going to be affected by the higher than expected water levels, caused by heavy rainfall over the last week. "The heavy rain fall over the weekend, causing increased water levels has been responded to by Environment Agency staff, and has had an impact on the recovery work being undertaken," a spokeswoman said.

“Since the December 2015 flooding, an extensive programme of recovery work has been taking place across the county in addition to the frequent maintenance programme that the EA carries out.

“We are confident of completing the recovery schedule by winter 2016.”

Included in those works is the removal of more than 70,000 tonnes of gravel and debris from rivers in communities including Glenridding and Kendal.

New flood warning areas have also being created, providing additional warnings to more than 6,500 properties – however, residents are being urged to sign up to these schemes to help them be better prepared.

The following work is due to take place from this week: At Little Caldew between Denton Holme and Calder Maltings, removal of debris and silt is due to take place once the river level has dropped. Work to strengthen Botcherby Bridge is ahead of schedule, with work on the upstream side has been completed and the scaffolding is being removed, and work has started on the downstream side. Concrete has been sprayed onto the mesh cage which has been drilled into the bridge to provide extra strength to the stonework of the structure. The whole project is expected to be completed ahead of schedule - mid-September.

Plus there’s been an increase in “temporary defences, with 250 extra water pumps and 500,000 sandbags.

A network of 41 flood action groups have been established in the hope that communities are better prepared and can respond quicker to any flooding.

While the likes of the EA and the Met Office are monitoring the weather forensically, events such as the ones in Bootle, Millom and Ulverston on Monday will still come as a surprise.

“In this event we experienced heavier than forecast rainfall across south Cumbria and Lancashire. Our teams were monitoring rainfall and river levels throughout the weekend and Monday, and we issued seven flood alerts across Cumbria,” Ms Tanner added.

Due to the heavy rain fall over the weekend, the water levels in the lakes, which feed the river Derwent, the final two days of gravel removal work in the river at Gote Bridge, Cockermouth, have not been able to be completed. The fast, high level flow prevents work taking place in the river. River levels need to fall.

Keswick: At Townsfield work to remove a further 4,000 tonnes of gravel from the river was completed last Friday, with work ongoing to remove the gravel from the stockpile in the field this week. The current tidying up of the site is due to be completed within two weeks. Gravel removal from this point is necessary due to the increased amounts being deposited on the river bed here due to the landslips and bank erosion higher up the catchment.

At Braystones, Egremont, once river levels have gone down, work will begin on the blockstone repair works to the embankment of the river Ehen.

“Rainfall events in the summer months are often of high intensity and a reminder that flooding can occur at any time, particularly in river catchments in Cumbria where water levels can rise very rapidly.

“The EA and our partners have worked hard and continue to do so to repair damaged infrastructure and help ensure Cumbria is better protected and prepared for the coming winter, and for the future.

“However, the risk of flooding can never be completely removed. We are working with partners to increase the resilience of local people, property, land and infrastructure to reduce the impact and help life get back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood.

“Resilience measures also help local businesses and the whole economy recover quicker from the impact of flooding. The EA has appointed three catchment directors for each main river catchment in Cumbria: Eden, Derwent, Kent/Leven to re-examine the river system from source to the sea, to make sure that money spent on the environment, farming and water supply continues to contribute to flood risk management.”

At Braithwaite, gravel removal work and defence repairs, expected to take three months, is due to start at The Puddle this week. The major construction work will require the road to be closed to traffic and pedestrians during this time.

At Troutbeck Bridge, ongoing design work to repair and replace part of the culvert upstream of the A591 continues.

Images of properties being flooded in the south of the county have not helped residents in Glenridding, near Penrith, according to Carl Schrivens, who sits on the village’s floods working group.

The 49-year-old says: “Psychologically people are still suffering from December. Myself included, you go to bed watching the weather forecast for the next 48 hours. It’s always on your mind, even in the summer. You never switch off from it all.”

The picturesque village on the shores of Ullswater was one of the worst-hit areas last winter, with properties being flooded on three separate occasions in the space of just two weeks.

There were fresh fears last weekend when river levels in the centre of the village rose exceptionally quickly causing residents to believe it might all be happening again.

Carl adds: “As far as things are going towards the EA side of things, they aren’t progressing as quickly as we want. We’ve got lots of things we want doing and we need things done before Septemeber. We need to accelerate those things.

“But we are getting through them slowly but surely. We also understand that there are other areas which need work doing to them as well, especially in light of what’s happened in Bootle etc over the last couple of days.”

  • A number of bridges in Cumbria remain closed, including Brougham Old Bridge, Eden, as well as several in the Allerdale district which are Priests Bridge, Brundholme Wood Road in Keswick, Bell Bridge Lonning, Mill Beck Bridge in Applethwaite, Rumbling Bridge, near Abbeytown and Bell Bridge at Sebergham.

At Appleby, repair work to the river embankment walls near the bridge at Holme Street continue. The project is expected to take a total of two months.

In Warcop, continuing repair work to the wall and embankment and river clearance is taking place at Crooks Beck.

At Glenridding, due to the extreme rainfall over the weekend, Environment Agency staff have been on-site to assess the impact on the water course and project site. Scaffolding for the building of the defence wall has been damaged and will be replaced.