Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Project to prevent flooding in Essex

A project which will help to reduce flooding by mapping every ordinary water courses in the county.

Where Does Water Go? is a parish and volunteer lead initiative to obtain the location and condtion of watercourses throughout the county. The outcomes of the project will then be linked with Essex Fire and Rescue Service targeted ditch clearance programmes.

The project, which is being launched by the Essex Flood and Water Management Alliance, will see teams of volunteers, along with parish councils, working to locate and survey all watercourses in the county  and guidance issued on how people can keep them clear to help reduce their local flood risk prevent floodwater from building up.

Assistant Divisional Officer Richie Farrant said: “These water courses play a vital role in clearing surface water and preventing flooding but they have been overlooked on maps and currently we don’t know where they all are or where they flow.

"This project will create a baseline map of all the watercourses in the county and provide us with an indication of their current condition so we know where to direct our resources for maximum benefit.

“Watercourses aren’t always wet or flowing so a lot of people won’t even know that they have a watercourse near their home or realise its significance. Even though they could be completely dry most of the year during heavy rainfall they carry water safely away from homes, business and roads and are an extremely important part of the county’s infrastructure.”

By building up a picture of where watercourses are and what condition they are in the Alliance can make sure that key watercourses are kept clean, clear and working to prevent flooding and to create a database of information to assist in flood investigations.

All volunteers will be given all the equipment and guides they need to carry out surveys in their local area. A video guide has also been produced which provides a guide to the scheme and gives advice for people who might have a watercourse on or near their property.

Volunteers who want to help with the scheme can find out more by emailing

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service joined forces with Essex County Council’s flood and water management team to create The Essex Flood and Water Management Alliance. The Alliance will investigate the causes of flooding to help prevent future incidents. The team have also carried out ditch clearances in Heybridge, West Horndon, and Hadleigh to clear water courses.

Find out more about the Essex Flood and Water Management Alliance by visiting their Facebook page at

Where Does Water Go? from ECFRS on Vimeo.

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