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17th June 2019

Children attending a major literature festival this month will be challenged to explore the region’s relationship with water through stories, poetry, games and more.

School groups and families visiting the Big Malarkey will be asked by the team from Living With Water to think about how they use and value water, and to devise flood plans for their homes.

The hope is that the sessions in the Big Malarkey marquee will be followed from September by Living With Water lessons in schools and other locations to get across key messages about of the importance of water to families across Hull and East Yorkshire.

Living With Water was brought together by Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council to tackle issues which were identified after the floods of 2007 and 2013. It is also supported by businesses and other organisations from across the region.

Among its aims is to raise awareness of Hull’s special status as one of five cities selected to contribute to the development of a global framework for water resilience. Arup, the international engineering firm, was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation in drawing up the list, which also includes Cape Town, Mexico City, Greater Miami and the Beaches and Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Lynnsey Pilmer, Yorkshire Water’s Communications and Engagement Manager, Yorkshire Water, said: “The cities were selected because they represent a wide range of water challenges facing cities around the world. What the Rockefeller Foundation gives us, is an opportunity to work with these cities to understand better our relationship with water.”

The Big Malarkey, which is in its third year, will welcome thousands of people to East Park from Tuesday 25 June to Sunday 30 June to learn and have fun with top children’s writers, performers, musicians, artists and poets from across the country. The festival will open with the James Reckitt Trust Hull Children’s Book Awards on the Tuesday, followed by schools activities from Wednesday to Friday and family days on Saturday and Sunday.

Living With Water is one of the sponsors of the main marquee and will present games and other activities during the school and public sessions.

Lynnsey said: “There will be activities around the water cycle and flood plans and on the Saturday we will be visited by the Wipesaur. In a bid to really raise the profile of what happens when unsuitable items end up in the sewer network, we’ve brought one of these unseen monsters to life. The Wipesaur is an 8-foot tall dino fatberg made up of everything you thought you’d never see again, and he’s out with our engagement teams showing customers just why we need to be careful with what we flush or rinse.

“The Living With Water partners have spent heavily on flood alleviation schemes and we have protected thousands of homes since 2007, but through education we aim to encourage children to think about how they use water and how they value water.

“A lot of people have a fire plan but they don’t have a flood plan. We will ask people what would be in their flood pack and we will talk about what sort of things can go down the toilet, taking responsibility for water, raising awareness among children of flooding, climate change and the fact that 90 per cent of Hull sits under the high tide level.”

Marjorie Brabazon, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said “We’re very excited that Living with Water has come on board to support The Big Malarkey as a business sponsor. Libraries are about knowledge and information exchange as much as they are about great literature, and with this sponsorship children will have a hands-on opportunity to learn about developing the resilient city that is needed for the future.”

To find out more about Living With Water please visit

For more information about The Big Malarkey including how to book tickets please visit


Yorkshire Water

Environment Agency

Hull City Council

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

University of Hull

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