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Identifying flood risk

Flood water can originate from different sources. It is important to identify which of these sources of flooding your property or workplace may be at risk from.


There are a number of sources of flooding you may be at risk from:

  • Fluvial (main river) flooding - it is the responsibility of the Environment Agency to manage the flood risk from these sources.
  • Surface water flooding - is caused by the build-up of storm water on surfaces, often when these surfaces are hard paved, or where there is too much rainfall for the soil to handle. Surface water flooding is our responsibility.
  • Ordinary watercourses  - are smaller brooks and drainage channels which are not main rivers. Managing the risk of flooding from ordinary watercourses is the responsibility of both us and the riparian owner of that watercourse.
  • Groundwater flooding - when the water table; the water level below ground, rises above the ground surface. During heavy rainfall, the water level in the ground may rise to so much that it floods basements, or emergence of groundwater at the surface may cause damage to properties and infrastructure. Managing groundwater flooding is our responsibility.
  • Reservoir flooding - follows the failure of structures holding back reservoir water (for example dams, retaining walls). It is the most unlikely source of danger to any property due to the strict regulations and maintenance schedules used by reservoir operators.

Search for flood risk in your area .