Flooding and drainage

Flooding may be caused by rivers overflowing, groundwater rising up through the ground and/or heavy rainfall. A high-level appraisal of all potential sources of flooding in the district can be found in the latest Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (2017).

Responsibility for managing the risk of flooding depends upon the source of the flooding.

  • Main rivers and reservoirs - Environment Agency
  • Surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses – Surrey County Council (Lead Local Flood Authority)
  • Water, foul or combined sewers – water or sewerage company

We work closely with these organisations and can also carry out flood risk management works on minor watercourses.

We are all required to co-operate with each other including across boundaries, for example Croydon Council. We work closely during flood events and through our flood alleviation programmes, which are exploring how to manage the risk of flooding in three areas in the district.

The community has played an important role in this work and we have been working with local flood action groups, made up of voluntary groups of local residents. We have two very active flood action groups in this district, which have done much to engage and involve their local communities: Caterham Hill and Old Coulsdon Flood Action Group and the Smallfield Flood Action Group.

Surrey County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority and its website provides advice and information about:

  • Preparing for severe rain and flooding.
  • Registering for Flood Alerts.
  • Staying safe during flooding.
  • Protecting your home from flooding.
  • What to do after flooding.
  • Reporting problems to Surrey County Council.

Visit our Emergency planning page to find out who to contact in the event of flooding.

Do you have a watercourse, such as a ditch, stream or river running through, or alongside, your property? If so, you are probably responsible for its maintenance and in legal terms you are a 'riparian owner'.

Surrey County Council's website provides advice and information about living next to a watercourse, e.g.:

  • Are you a riparian owner?
  • Your rights 
  • Your responsibilities
  • Further information
  • Implementation of Legislation*
  • Riparian Ownership - Frequently Asked Questions
  • Good Practice Guide for watercourse maintenance

 *In implementing legislation with respect to riparian owners, we take the same approach as Surrey County Council in that we will encourage owners to work towards an effective watercourse system through a process of co-operation, liaison, advice and assistance wherever possible and we will try to resolve problems through discussion with owners in the first instance and enforcement of legislation will only be used as the last resort.

If you have any further questions please contact Surrey County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority at flooding.enquiries@surreycc.gov.uk or phone Surrey County Council on 03456 009 009.

The Environment Agency also provides information on your responsibilities and rules to follow for watercourses on or near your property and permissions you need to do work around them.