If you or your neighbours are in immediate danger from flooding call the Emergency Services on 999.

There can be several causes for flooding. The type of flooding that occurs will determine which organisation will best be able to help you.

Kent County Council (KCC) is mainly responsible for ordinary watercourses as Lead Local Flood Authority. The Environment Agency is mainly responsible for managing flood risks associated with rivers and coastal areas.


Depending on the flooding issues, different organisations are responsible.

Surface water flooding

Lead local flood authorities (county councils or unitary authorities) manage the risk of surface water flooding

Private Drainage (surface water)

These pipes are the responsibility of the homeowner.

Highway drainage

  • The local highway authority (county councils or unitary authorities) is responsible for highways drainage, and gullies, on the roads they maintain
  • Highways England is responsible for highways drainage on trunk roads and motorways

River and coastal flooding

  • The Environment Agency manages flood risk from main rivers and the sea and also monitors the quality of watercourses
  • The local lead flood authority (county councils or unitary authorities) manage flood risk from ordinary watercourses
  • Internal Drainage Boards manage water levels of ordinary watercourses in areas known as internal drainage districts
  • Riparian owners have certain legal rights and responsibilities to maintain watercourses (including drainage ditches) which run through or adjacent to their land or property

Groundwater flooding

Lead local flood authorities (county councils or unitary authorities) manage the risk of groundwater flooding

Private drainage (foul)

These pipes are the responsibility of the homeowner up to the point they connect with the public sewer, usually at the boundary of the property

Public foul sewers

Water and sewerage companies manage the risks of flooding from foul or combined sewers serving buildings and yards

Public surface water sewers

Water and sewerage companies manage the risks of flooding from public surface water sewers (where these exist) serving buildings and yards

For flooding that is the responsibility of Kent Highways Service, there is also an option to report flooding and drainage problems to KCC. This can also be used for reporting surface water flooding, caused by heavy rainfall which can potentially flood property.

Gravesham Borough Council is only responsible for flooding if the water is running off land, a drain or ditch owned by the council, if it is directly effecting on an adjacent property.

Protecting your home or business

Owners or occupiers are mainly responsible for protecting their own homes and businesses. The law does not require councils to provide flood defences to protect homes but we will always try to give assistance if possible and most needed.

We have a very limited supply of sandbags for flooding emergencies. These are used mainly to protect vulnerable residents that are occupied and in immediate danger of flooding. Sandbags will not be supplied for the protection of gardens or outbuildings. However, we cannot guarantee that it will be in sufficient time or in sufficient quantity to prevent or reduce damage to property.

Sand and sandbags are available at most builder merchants and larger DIY stores across the Borough. Please remember that these are not waterproof and will not keep water out indefinitely. However, sandbags can be useful in diverting shallow flowing water that has somewhere else to go, or deflecting waves caused in shallow water by passing vehicles.

Consider all entry points that water could get through, not just doorways, such as – air bricks, utility service points, cable entry points etc. Use other solutions for entry points where sandbags won’t work (such as silicone sealant).

Check out the Environment Agency's advice on 'Sandbags and how to use them properly for flood protection'

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Get information on what to do during a flood, and what to do after a flood.