Report an incident of flooding or standing water
We regularly clean gullies, ditches and watercourses located on public land. However, it is difficult to prevent flooding completely.
Flooding may happen because of various reasons. You can report an incident of flooding in properties, or standing water on the highway or public land. Who you need to contact depends on what’s causing the incident.
Blocked sewers and burst water main
If the flood water appears to be sewage water because it is discoloured or smelly, you should make a report to Thames Water.
If the flood water appears to be clean and there was no rain in recent time, this could be because a water main has burst. You should report a burst water main to Thames Water.
If a burst pipe is on your property and is not connected to any other property, you are responsible for the cost of repair. Find more information on blocked drains and sewers.
Flooding from main rivers
The Environment Agency manages flood risk from the main rivers, such as the River Ray and the River Cole. If a main river has burst its banks causing flooding, you should contact the Environment Agency.
To find out which rivers in England are classed as main rivers, you can view statutory main rivers map.
Flooding from the M4 and A419
Highways England operates, maintains and improves England’s motorways and major A roads. They manage flood risk on the M4 and the A419. To report flooding on either of these roads, you should contact Highways England.
Flooding from a private watercourse
A private watercourse is the responsibility of the property owner. A person who owns land adjoining a watercourse must make sure that the flow of water is not obstructed. They should clear any excess vegetation and debris from ditches, and maintain existing flood defence systems.
The GOV.UK website provides more information about owning a watercourse.
Flooding from roadside ditches or private roads
Maintaining roadside ditches is the responsibility of the land owner. Maintaining the drainage on private roads and private streets is the responsibility of the road owners or residents.
Flooding from roadside gullies, surface water or watercourses
You can report an incident of flooding or standing water to us if:
- a roadside gully is blocked and causing flooding or standing water
- multiple roadside gullies are blocked and causing flooding or standing water
- the flooding is from surface water or groundwater
- the flooding is from an ordinary watercourse (for example, a minor river which does not come under the Environment Agency, a stream or a ditch)
We inspect reports of flooding or standing water within one working day. If there are no signs of flooding or standing water, we inspect within ten working days. If our inspector finds a problem that could cause serious harm or damage to a property, we make the area safe as quickly as possible.
For more complicated reports of flooding or standing water, we investigate further. Once we have investigated, we work with the owner of the drainage system to find the ways to fix the problem. If we own the drainage system, we make improvements if we have the budget to do so.
Important information about flood preparation and recovery
The GOV.UK website provides guidance on flooding:
More information about flooding: