Operation Watershed

How we have invested in highway drainage and environmental improvements in areas worst affected by flooding.

1 Overview

Following flooding in the county during 2012/13, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) resolved to address issues with the drainage infrastructure including:

  • the riparian ditch network
  • damage to roads
  • improving resilience to protect homes, businesses and highways.

The response was the creation of ‘Operation Watershed’, within which the Active Communities Fund was launched.

Since the establishment of Operation Watershed, WSCC has successfully supported local communities by funding over 400 projects to a value in excess of £4m, and worked with nearly 150 groups.

Operation Watershed now has a further £500,000 via the Active Communities Fund 2023/24 to support community groups interested in delivering capital projects to reduce the risk and impacts of flooding in their area.


Please note: the following videos use YouTube's automated captions, which we have checked and adapted for accuracy.

Video 1: Chidham and Hambrook Parish Council tell us on how Operation Watershed has helped them and the Parish Ditch Warden to keep the local community informed and reduce the risk of flooding. 

By playing this video YouTube may set cookies.

Video 2: Pulborough Parish Council tell us how they worked in partnership with Horsham Wardens and Operation Watershed to help significantly reduce flooding in a well-used community area.

By playing this video YouTube may set cookies.

2 Applying for funding

Community and volunteer groups and town and parish councils within West Sussex can apply for funding for projects they can deliver for themselves. 

The criteria we use to assess applications to the fund are:

  • how they address recognised flood issues
  • if they have strong community support
  • that they demonstrate value for money
  • how they will realise benefits to your community.

The required demonstrable criteria for applications to be successful include:

  • tackling a recognised surface or ground water flood risk
  • meeting at least one of the following elements in its technical scope:
    • provide new infrastructure installations or build
    • make material change improvements to existing infrastructure
    • increase the drainage capacity of existing infrastructure
    • the provision of assets for community groups' usage to protect their local area.
  • evidence strong community commitment to delivering the project and carrying out future maintenance.

All applications need the support from your local elected county councillor.

If you would like to discuss your proposals or initiatives before applying you can email us.

Applications will need to achieve a score of 65 or higher to be considered and should be submitted with any supporting documents to the Operation Watershed team.

3 Contact details

Keep up to date via @WSCCnews and @WSHighways.

4 Past grant applications

Grant applications 2022/23

  • Total number of applications: 3
  • Total value: £36,858.79

Grant applications 2021/22

  • Total number of applications: 11
  • Total value: £254,504.73

Grant applications 2020/21

  • Total number of applications: 17
  • Total value: £387,512.11 Capital

Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund application details:

Grant applications 2019/20

  • Total number of applications: 11
  • Total value: £144,691.96 Capital

Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund application details:

Grant applications 2018/19

  • Total number of applications: 21
  • Total value: £344,310.79 Capital
  • Total value: £25,725.00 Operation Watershed revenue reserve

Grant applications 2017/18

  • Total number of applications: 52
  • Total value: £500,186.93

Awarded under fund for 2016/17

  • Total number of applications: 64
  • Total value: £496,633.65

Awarded under fund for 2014/15

  • Total number of applications: 183
  • Total value: £1,145,847.00

Awarded under fund for 2013/14

  • Total number of applications: 129
  • Total value: £1,244,224.70

Previous approved applications are available upon request.

Last updated:
24 June 2024
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