Flooding and drainage


Flooding advice

Find out how at-risk from flooding your home or business is and sign up to alerts to make sure you’re informed of high-risk days. You’ll also find a list of simple steps you can take that can reduce the impact of flooding, and how we and other organisations can support you.

You can use the Environment Agency's website to check:

You can also prepare for any emergency by following our P.L.A.N. advice.

The Environment Agency provides more detailed advice on what to do before, during, and after a flood in their flood advice guides.

You can find information and advice about flooding on the GOV.UK website

The Environment Agency provides more detailed advice on what to do during and after a flood on their website.

  • A public sewer (contact Thames Water)
  • A burst water main (contact Thames Water they’re responsible up to and including the stopcock)
  • Blocked drain on private property (the homeowner or landlord is responsible and would need a plumber)
  • Burst riverbank (main rivers are the responsibility of the Environment Agency - 03708 506 506).

The Environment Agency also provides "Floodline", a 24-hour advice and information service for floods and flood warnings on 0345 988 1188.

If you own land or a property next to a river, stream or ditch you are a ‘riparian landowner’.

Read more about 'riparian landowner' rights and responsibilities on GOV.UK

Flood control on the River Lee, Ching Brook and Dagenham Brook is the responsibility of the Environment Agency. You can contact them on 03708 506 506.

They also provide a 24 hour advice and information service for floods and flood warnings. Call 0345 988 1188.

  1. Check in with other people in your household - if they are not at home make sure they are somewhere safe.
  2. Gather essential items together either upstairs or in a high place.
  3. Fill jugs and saucepans with clean water.
  4. Move your family and pets upstairs, or to a high place with a means of escape.
  5. Turn off gas, electricity and water supplies when flood water is about to enter your home if safe to do so. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in floodwater.
  6. Keep listening to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0800 807060  
  7. Check in with vulnerable neighbours or relatives.
  8. Flood water can rise quickly, stay calm and reassure those around you. Call 999 if you are in danger.
  9. Stay safe, always listen to the advice of the emergency services and evacuate if told to do so.

If flooding is on a road or pavement

Although we accept that some road gullies (drainage systems) may be blocked and need our attention, in many cases, especially during storm events, it is found that the public sewers are unable to drain large amounts of water generated by the storm.

We recommended that you and any neighbours who have been similarly affected, contact Thames Water (by calling 0800 316 98000 - 24 hour service) advising them of the situation. You should provide them with as much detail as possible, supplying date(s) and details of how you were flooded and ask them to make sure that these incidents are logged onto their “flooding history database” as this will contribute to the possibility of an improvement in the sewer system.  

The highway drainage systems (gullies) are not designed to cope with heavy storms, so ‘flooding’ of the highway is expected during a storm event, but this will go down over time.

If you would like to report flooding on a road or pavement to us, please complete the Highways issues report form and select ‘Blocked gully’.

Waltham Forest has several large reservoirs which have water levels above that of the surrounding land. It is unlikely that a reservoir wall would fall. However, if one did, the impact would be severe.

To see if you're at risk of flooding from reservoirs, enters your postcode and select the “Flood Risk from Reservoirs” option on this flood map.

Sometimes, the gullies (road drains) can get blocked or cannot handle the amount of water flowing and overflow onto the road, however, we operate a cyclical gully cleansing regime to clean the gullies in Waltham Forest. The regime identifies high-risk areas which are prioritised for more frequent cleansing. Gullies are also checked during regular highways inspections.

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, we must produce a local flood risk management strategy.

Our strategy has been developed with input and guidance from the Environment Agency and has been publicly consulted on. The current strategy was published in 2015 and will be reviewed in 2022.

Public and private sewers Click to get info

The homeowner or landlord is responsible for the drains on their property up to their boundary.

If you cannot clear the blockage yourself contact a plumber or drainage contractor.

We can require private drains and sewers to be cleared and, if necessary, enforce the required work at the expense of the owner(s).

If you are uncertain whether the blockage is in a public sewer or private drain call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800​. They will send a team to determine where the blockage is located. You will be charged for any repair work done to your drains.

If you feel that you are not solely responsible for a blocked drain please contact the Private Sector Housing and Licensing Team within Regulatory Services. They should be able to determine which private property is responsible.

Please note: We do not own any drains or sewers except those serving our own properties. We are responsible for highways drainage, but this is separate from drainage of buildings.

Thames Water is responsible for supplying and ensuring the quality of tap water in Waltham Forest. This is called mains water.

  • If you have questions or complaints about your water supply call Thames Water Customer Service on 0800 316 9800.
  • To find out more about drinking water, contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate, the national body for ensuring water quality.

Private water supplies

We are responsible for ensuring the quality of water that doesn’t come from the mains meets the standards of the Private Water Supplies Regulations 2009. This applies to water from private wells, springs and boreholes.

Help with completing online forms

If you don't have a computer, you can use a self-service pc at a Library Plus branch to log your request/report. Staff can help if needed.