Let's do our bit to prepare for winter rain
01 December 2021
As temperatures dip and winter sets in, everyone in Norfolk can do their bit to make sure they’re prepared for winter flooding.
Everyone, particularly those living in a high-risk flood area, can take simple, practical steps to mitigate their flood risk and reduce the likelihood of flood water entering their property. These small steps start with ensuring water can drain away from your home, keeping domestic drains, ditches and watercourses clear and allowing water to flow freely.
A build-up of flood water with nowhere to drain to can quickly turn a minor incident into a disaster for the home. By starting off small and checking the drains on their own property for any blockages such as mud, leaves and stones, residents can take the first step towards mitigating the impact of flooding.
Outside of the home, if residents spot any blocked or broken drains on Norfolk’s highways, they can report it via www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding, allowing Norfolk’s Highways Team to clear them and keep our roads open.
Ditches and watercourses are another area where the free flow of water can help keep flooding at bay. Under UK law, landowners have a responsibility to keep watercourses on their property clear, even if only a few feet of the ditch pass through their property.
These duties, known as Riparian responsibilities, do not show up on property searches, which can leave landowners unaware of this important role. Hedges or fences that are erected within the boundaries of a property can even prevent owners knowing they have a watercourse to maintain.
This winter, all property owners are urged to check ditches and watercourses on or adjacent to their land, to confirm what their responsibilities are, and to do their part to keep the ditches clear. Even smaller watercourses which may be dry for most of the year, play a key drainage role in wet weather. Find out more about Riparian responsibilities at www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding
Keeping ditches clear of fallen trees, branches, bushes, garden refuse or rubble and litter will help water flow and lower the risk of flooding. Ask yourself if a fish could swim through the ditch or watercourse? If the answer is no, it needs clearing.
Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of the Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA), said: “We’ve been hard at work building the NSFA and coordinating how we deal with flooding across Norfolk, but this isn’t just about how water companies and Highways departments work. Everyone can do their bit: it may seem small, but just keeping drains on your property clear of leaves can help water flow away more easily and reduce your risk of flooding. Ten minutes of checking now can save tens of thousands of pounds in damages in the event of a flood.”
To report a flood, or find out more about how to prepare for flooding, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding
In an emergency, residents across Norfolk can report flooding by telephone via 0344 800 8013. If you are in immediate danger, dial 999 immediately.
The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance is a taskforce, brought together in early 2021, to work so that Norfolk communities and infrastructure are safer and more resilient to the risks of inland and coastal flooding. The Alliance includes, among others, the Environment Agency, Anglian Water, the Association of Drainage Authorities, the Water Management Alliance, Water Resources East, the Norfolk Resilience Forum, the Broads Authority and Norfolk’s County, Borough, City, District and Parish Councils.