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Flooding is a natural event and no drainage or flood protection system can give absolute protection. Flooding occurs in different ways such as heavy rainfall causing rivers and streams to fill beyond capacity and with nowhere else to go the floodwaters spread into the surrounding land.

Flash flooding can occur when thunderstorms or heavy rain falls over a short period of time, the ground cannot absorb this amount of water quickly enough, drainage systems are overwhelmed and flooding occurs. This flooding is normally short lived and often there is very little notice.

Within Wiltshire there are areas where the substructure of the land is made up of different layers of rock. These layers of rock hold water and are called aquifers. If it rains continously for a long period of time they discharge the excess water into streams. rivers and springs causing groundwater flooding. This type of flooding can occur days or weeks after the rain incident and is predicted by measuring groundwater levels.

The Environment Agency website can tell you more about different types of flooding.

environment flood alert

Flood alert

This means that flooding is possible and you need to be prepared.

environment flood warning

Flood warning

This means that flooding is expected and you should take immediate actions.
You should take action when a flood warning is issues and not wait for a severe flood warning.

environment severe flood warning

Severe flood warning

This means there is severe flooding and danger to life. These are issued when flooding is posing a significant risk to life or disruption to communities.

This means is no further flooding is forecast in your area.

More information about these flood warnings can be found on the Environment Agency website.


The Environment Agency is able to issue warnings several hours in advance of the possibility of river flooding using their automatic flood warning systems and also by radio and TV messages. The automated telephone or fax warning system is available to householders whose property has been flooded in the past.

They are also able to provide warning messages about flooding from ground water in some areas.To find out which services are available in your area, or for the latest information on river and coastal flooding contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or contact them via the Environment Agency website.


The Environment Agency has some simple steps to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business.


If you require further information or require assistance with flood defence or land drainage matters please either complete the online form or contact drainage@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 456 0105


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Last updated: 22 November 2018 | Last reviewed: 22 November 2018