Managing flood risk

How we work with our partners to manage flood risk in West Sussex.

As the Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) we oversee local flood risk, including the management of groundwater flooding, surface water run off 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 run off 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
  • ensure that developments drain in a manner that 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 flood risk and creating 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, such as rubbish, fallen branches or garden waste
  • maintain any structures (such as trash screens, culverts, weirs and mill gates) on it.

Find out more about riparian ownership:

Contact the flooding or land drainage department of your local district or borough council for advice. 

Advice for businesses and householders

Last updated:
24 June 2024
Share this
Share this

Help us improve this website

Let us know if this page was helpful so we can make improvements. Add a star rating and leave your feedback below to show how useful you found this page.

Rate this page:
Clear star rating...
  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.