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Water companies’ roles in the emergency response to the floods

Water companies are working around the clock alongside the Environment Agency, local authorities and other emergency services to help minimise the impacts of the floods on drinking water and sewerage services.

There are currently no large scale interruptions to customers’ drinking water supplies.

Water companies have established emergency plans and are already taking action to support each other including sharing equipment, such as water pumps and portable treatment facilities from non-affected areas, until the emergency is over.

Building on experiences from the last major floods, in 2007, companies are working to protect drinking water treatment works from rising flood waters. In addition, contingency plans are being reviewed in the eventuality that flood waters reach unprecedented levels. Companies are helping to keep sewers flowing and preventing pipes from being overloaded by flood water, which will help ensure customers’ homes are not affected by sewer flooding.

Sewers take away sewage from properties and in some cases surface water which runs off roads, footpaths and paved areas. While these sewers can cope with day to day flows, exceptional weather can overwhelm them and cause flooding.

Water companies are also protecting vital assets – such as water pumping stations and treatment works – from being flooded, as this can also result in sewer flooding in people’s homes. This is to help ensure drinking water is not affected and that sewage continues to be treated properly.

In addition, companies are carrying out daily checks on groundwater supplies to ensure they are not becoming contaminated with flood and storm water.

Where people should go for help

Sewer flooding

Sewerage companies are responsible for clearing properties affected by sewer flooding.

Each company has an emergency number to ring and information is available on their websites.

Flooding of roads or open spaces

Local councils are the first point of contact to report a road or open space being flooded.

The Highways Agency will have the latest information about road closures.

Flooding caused by high river levels

The Environment Agency is responsible for building, maintaining and operating flood defences and for issuing flood warnings to the public.

Information about flood warnings can be found via the Floodline on 0845 988 1188.