Flooding and drainage

We work hard to keep the County's road drains and 145,000 gullies clean and maintained to help prevent flooding. 

Most of the major roads in the County, and those in urban areas have drainage systems, with road gullies catching the water and pipes carrying the water away to watercourses or soakaways. On most minor rural roads, there is little formal drainage, and the water is allowed to run onto the verges, or sometimes into roadside ditches, through channels called "grips".

Flooding is a problem at certain locations, often where there is no formal drainage system in place, although can occur when, for example, gully gratings get blocked with rubbish such as fallen leaves and debris. 

As a minimum we aim to clean most gullies once every 2 years although some are cleaned more frequently if required. 

Often when we arrive to a reported blocked drain on the roadside the grates are covered by grass or leaves which can act like a plug, stopping the water from freely flowing down it.

If you notice a covered gully on your street has become blocked by leaves, that can easily swept away without endangering yourself or others, brush the leaves to one side. Once you have done this gather the leaves and dispose of them in the same way from your household rubbish. 

If the gully remains blocked after you have removed the leaves please report this to us

To report a blocked drain or flooding of a road you can:

  • report a blocked drain or flooding online - using our interactive map you can pinpoint the actual location of the problem. If you register to use this service you will also receive automated updates on the fault you have reported
  • call us on the highways hotline  - 0300 303 2992 (highways hotline is open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday)

Check who is responsible for the repair:

Who is responsible?
Blocked gullies (roadside drainage gratings)Cumbria County Council
Channels (grips) in rural verges to allow water to run off the road; pipes and stone culverts; general road floodingCumbria County Council
RiversEnvironment Agency a 24 hour helpline is also available on 0345 988 1188
Roadside ditches and private sewers or drainsThe private landowners on each side of the ditch
Public sewers (including drains leading to public sewers in urban areas), burst water mainsThe local water authority - United Utilities
Car parks, amenity areasTown and district councils