We work closely with the Environment Agency, Hampshire County Council and local communities. Following the severe floods in 2013/14, a number of engineering projects have been designed, approved and some already carried out to improve flood resilience in the district, though only some of the threat from flooding can be resolved by these sorts of works. However, it is also important that property-owners and businesses take action if you live in places that are at risk of flooding.
You can check for flooding here: Check for flooding in England - GOV.UK (check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk)
You can receive flood alerts by signing up to the notification services via the government's website or you can get the information by contacting FloodlineTelephone: 0345 988 1188,
Textphone: 0345 602 6340
Check gullies, drains, ditches and water-courses that might cause you a problem
If there is something that may cause a problem, take action to fix it, or notify the owner that they need to do so
Make preparations to defend your property
Buy your own sand and bags, pumps or arrange the installation of other measures such as flood-boards
Make sure that you have insurance details and other essential paperwork up-to-date and stored safely
Sign up to the notification services via the government's website or you can get the information by contacting FloodlineTelephone: 0345 988 1188, Textphone: 0345 602 6340
Read advice on the government's website about what to do before or during a flood
Property owners are responsible for protecting their premises and are strongly advised to purchase their own supply of sandbags or install property flood resilience products in advance of any flood event.
Sandbags can be obtained from DIY stores and builders’ merchants.
If your house is under threat and you have no sandbags, you can improvise by using the following:
• Grow bags are the right shape and light enough to be easily carried
• Bin liners or plastic carrier bags filled with soil dug from your garden
• Soil wrapped up in a bath towel
The council only has a limited stock of sandbags which are reserved to help our most vulnerable residents if their home is at threat of internal flooding.
We are not able to issue sandbags to individual homes and businesses.
The Environment Agency has produced guidance on the use of sandbags.
Who to contact?
If it is a flooding emergency you should focus on the safety of yourself and your family.
Dial 999 if it is an emergency and you or someone else is in danger
Hampshire County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for the County. If the highway is flooded, please use this link for details on how to report a flood: Hampshire County Council- Report a Flood (0300 555 1388)
RIVERS - If you believe the flooding is from a main river contact the Environment Agency. (0800 80 70 60)
BURST OR LEAKING WATER MAIN OF FOUL WATER SEWER - Contact Southern Water (0330 303 0368)
Following significant investment in flood defences from the Winchester City Council Community Infrastructure Levy (£800,000) and the Environment Agency (£548,000), which saw works complete 2021, Winchester city has a number of protections in place in the event of severe flooding.
The council own and operate the flood defences in Winchester City, whilst the flood alleviation measures in Hambledon are owned and maintained by Hampshire Highways.
The rivers and tributaries throughout Winchester are checked every day of the year, but in spate (sudden flood) conditions they are checked more regularly. In extreme weather, the culverts under the city are closed off to river water, allowing additional capacity for rainwater to ensure that surface water drains located in the city can continue to operate.
There are a number of sluice gates throughout the city that are continually checked for blockages and adjusted by our engineers to manage the flow of water. The sluices permit maximum safe flow and, where required, additional temporary measures are also supplied to help people navigate any excess water, for example, the walkway over the large puddle in River Park.
Low-level flooding - the Winnall Moor Flood Plain
The first stage of flooding in Winchester happens when the river bursts its banks and starts to flood Winnall Moor. This first stage is an entirely normal and expected activity and shouldn’t cause concern. Winnall Moor is an active floodplain and regularly floods in this way – it commonly happens during the winter months. The water then runs down through the river tributaries such as the one in Abbey Gardens.
Phase 1 Defences
In the event of the river rising to the point that flooding in the city may be an issue, then the Phase 1 defences may be implemented. Phase 1 defences are a system of walls, bunds, temporary barriers, and one-way valves that protect St Bedes School, The university and Park Avenue residents, as well as the residents of Water Lane. The only notable impact of the phase 1 defences on residents is that access through Park Avenue and the river walk along Water Lane is blocked, and flooding will occur in River Park.
The Phase 1 barriers may often be installed as a precaution, with one panel removed to permit access until flooding is expected and the barrier is actually required, at which point the last panel can quickly be installed to complete the defence. We would ask that residents do not climb over these temporary defences as the barriers are not designed to withstand this activity and, if damaged, flooding of properties may well result. Access can instead be gained by using a small diversion via Gordon Road.
Phase 2 Defences
Phase 2 defences are designed to protect Winchester, even in the event of a 1-in-100-year storm. If significant flooding is expected then, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, Phase 2 defences may be implemented in addition to Phase 1 defences. Phase 2 involves placing sluice controls on all the river channels entering the city, restricting flow to a safe level and holding back the excess water.
The Phase 2 defences provide an unbroken continuous flood defence from Gordon Road to Easton Lane, storing up to 7 days’ worth of flood water on Winnall Moors. The Phase 2 defences give valuable additional time to evacuate residents and prepare properties for any flooding.
Implementing Phase 2 does involve the deliberate flooding of Winnall Moor. As the moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC), phase 2 defences will only be implemented with the agreement of the EA if there is a risk of serious, life-threatening flooding.