As the Local Lead Flood Authority we oversee local flood risk, including the management of groundwater flooding, surface water runoff and ordinary watercourses.
We work closely with the Environment Agency, district and borough councils, water companies, Regional Flood and Coastal Committees and Internal Drainage Boards. Find out more about their role in managing flood risk on GOV.UK.
Together with our partners we:
- commission works to manage flood risk from surface runoff or groundwater
- request information from any person in connection with the authority’s flood and coastal erosion risk management functions
- give consent for any changes to ordinary watercourses
- record, investigate and publish reports on significant floods in the county
- record flood assets and identify those responsible for maintaining them
- designate any features which have a significant impact on flood risk so they cannot be removed or replaced without consent
- develop a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for managing surface runoff, groundwater and ordinary watercourses throughout West Sussex
- make sure that developments drain in a manner which does not increase flood risk elsewhere, as well as trying to reduce the risk of flooding wherever possible.
Riparian ownership - your responsibilities
If you have a watercourse, ditch, stream, river or culvert on or next to your land you are known as a ‘Riparian Owner’. Riparian owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of watercourses on their land to ensure that they are not a flood risk to other people or property.
Well maintained watercourses can significantly benefit the local community by reducing local flood risk and create habitats for wildlife.
The riparian responsibilities for landowners under law are to:
- ensure the flow of water is not obstructed or polluted
- maintain the bottom and sides of the watercourse (including managing any trees and vegetation growing on the banks), remove any obstructions (like rubbish, fallen branches or garden waste) and look after any structures (such as trash screens, culverts, weirs and mill gates) on it.
Find out more about riparian ownership:
- Good practice for watercourse maintenance (PDF, 720KB)
- Riparian ownership - Frequently asked questions (PDF, 246KB)
Advice for businesses and householders
Visit the Environment Agency website to find out if you are at risk from flooding and what you can do to prepare your property. Southern Water has information about what you should and shouldn't put down your drains.