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Flood Risk and Development

Surface Water Management

Surface water is rainwater (including snow and other precipitation) which:

  1. is on the surface of the ground (whether or not it is moving) and
  2. has not yet entered a watercourse, drainage system or public sewer.

Although flooding on rivers and other watercourses tends to get the most publicity the majority of flooding in Worcestershire (and across the country) is from surface water.

Causes of surface water flooding

Surface water flooding occurs when rainwater cannot soak into the ground because either it falls on ground which is already saturated, baked hard after a prolonged dry spell or hard surfaced and / or the drainage system is already full or blocked.

Surface water flooding has become more common due to the increased area of land which is hard surfaced for example new housing or business developments and block paved or tarmacked front gardens.

Managing surface water flood risk

The Flood & Water Management Act (2010) made Lead Local Flood Authorities, such as Worcestershire County Council, responsible for managing surface water flooding. Since then the Council has worked very closely with its partners and communities to:

  • implement flood alleviation schemes
  • implement drainage improvement schemes
  • improve drainage maintenance
  • encourage and help individuals to protect their properties and businesses
  • gain a detailed record and understanding of all past flooding locations
  • gain a better understanding of future potential flood risk
  • prioritise the allocation of resources to deal with surface water flood risk

The Council is currently finishing the production of a Surface Water Management Plan which will describe the work which has already been carried out and outline the broad approaches and specific actions which will be carried out in the future to address surface water flooding.

This plan will be published shortly.

Map of surface water flood risk

The Environment Agency has produced a map, based on computer modelling, which shows the extent of potential future flooding from surface water.