Flooding and drainage

Flooding and drainage

Severe weather that leads to flash flooding is becoming a part of the changing UK weather pattern and it is important for people to be as prepared as they can be. Flooding can be a serious problem in Cambridgeshire. Acting early to be prepared can help. If there is an imminent risk to life or property, always contact the emergency services on 999.

Be prepared for flooding

We advise all residents and businesses to have a flood plan in place. It is impossible to completely flood-proof your property, but there are steps you can take to reduce the damage flood water may cause.

Is my home at risk of flooding?

Using the Government's flood risk tool, you can find out if you’re:

  • At immediate risk of flooding - check current flood warnings and river and sea levels
  • At risk of flooding in the next 5 days
  • In an area that’s likely to flood in the future - check your long term flood risk and view your area’s flood maps
  • In addition, any home can be subject to flash flooding if a substantial amount of rain falls in too short a time-frame, as a result of there being too much rainwater for the drainage systems to disperse. There may be no specific flood warning in place, so everyone should think ahead about what you would do in this situation, and make a flood plan

Who is responsible for what when it comes to flooding?

  • Flooding from a sewer: This is likely the responsibility of Anglian Water. You can report an issue to them online or call them on 0345 791 9155
  • Blocked drain on the road or pavement: This is likely the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council. You can report an issue to them online
  • Flooded property or garden: You can report external flooding to gardens or paths, or report that you have already experienced flooding within the living space of your home, to Cambridgeshire County Council. It may be possible to investigate the cause of flooding or offer advice. However, remember that it is the home-owner's responsibility to protect their own properties from flooding
  • Flooding at a South Cambridgeshire District Council property: Our Housing Services will fix any serious drainage problem. Call our free repairs hotline on 0800 085 1313 to report an emergency repair


The Council does not provide a sandbag service to residents. Generally, it is the responsibility of residents to protect their own properties from flooding. However, we do have a limited supply of sandbags that can be delivered to domestic properties that are at imminent risk / danger of flooding only, and not as a preventative measure days / hours in advance of potential flooding. By this, we don't mean if there's a weather warning in place for your area for a given day; we mean if the water is rising by a front door, we'll do our best to get there to support our most vulnerable residents.

As you’d expect, this is aimed at our most vulnerable residents and only intended for people who have no friends, family or neighbours who can assist them fast enough or in advance. If a resident has had previous flooding, or flooding is forecast, they need to have done all they can to obtain sandbags themselves.

Bearing in mind the above, residents requesting sandbags during normal office hours should call us on 03450 450 063 or email streets@scambs.gov.uk

If it is outside of normal office hours and an emergency then please contact our out of hours number for Environmental Health Emergencies on 01253 501 055. Where we are able to provide sandbags in line with the above policy, we can provide a maximum of 5 per household to ensure fairness of provision.

Please bear in mind that we have a limited supply of sandbags and, depending on resources and weather conditions, it will likely take officers some time to deliver them. This could be too late and damage could already have been done by flood water. This is why it is so important to make preparations before a flood risk becomes imminent.

Sandbags and other flood protection equipment can be obtained from a variety of companies. Here are lists of some companies you may wish to contact for further information:

There is no guarantee that any flood protection system will work and we do not endorse a particular product or supplier.

What should I do when flooding is imminent?

Act early. Floodwater rises rapidly if there is a flood warning. Don’t hope for the best, act early.

  • Move your car to higher ground if possible
  • Tune in to local radio or television news for updates
  • Pack essential items you will need if evacuated – medication, clothing, toiletries and items for children
  • Turn off the mains power and water, and put sand-bags in toilet bowls to prevent sewage back-flow
  • Shut windows and lock doors
  • Empty freezers and refrigerators if you can, leaving doors open
  • Move people, pets and valuables to a safer place (for example, upstairs)
  • Leave the area if instructed to do so by the emergency services
  • Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads, the water may be deeper than you think

Property drainage

We do not maintain the drainage system. However, if public health is put at risk by poorly maintained drains, we can insist that any necessary works are carried out.

Land drainage

Land drainage is usually the responsibility of the landowner. In some rare cases it may be that the drains upkeep has been passed onto us. If you are not sure whether this is the case for a particular piece of land, please contact us via streets@scambs.gov.uk

Two blue tractors cutting weeds in a ditch

Additionally, awarded watercourses are a network of drainage ditches throughout the district which the Council is responsible for maintaining. If you have any questions relating to an awarded watercourse please contact us via streets@scambs.gov.uk

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