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How can you and your community get involved?

While our Pathfinder projects are being developed by our Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force, everyone can help us reduce storm overflow releases in a number of different ways.


What you can do to help

Installing water butts to capture excess water, avoiding paving over driveways – instead using soakaways to mimic natural water management – and making better use of smart drainage solutions. These are just some of the ways you can get involved and help 'slow the flow' of surface water into the sewer. 

Every small action makes a difference. The sustainable, nature-based drainage solutions we put in place now will deliver benefits for future generations, increasing biodiversity, well-being, and economic prosperity.


We're funding your ideas to manage rainwater

SuDS Community Fund


Seven ways to ‘slow the flow’

Here are some smart ways you can help ‘slow the flow’ at home and in your local community.


Permeable is the word

Help water soak into the ground by planting grass, installing flower beds or using permeable slabs instead of paving paths.


Have off road parking?

Allow surface water to run off your driveway into a flower bed or patch of grass rather than a drain.


Building an extension?

Check that the water coming off the roof doesn’t connect directly to the sewer. Instead, use a drain chain into a flower bed.


Collect rainwater or slow it down

By installing slow-drain water butts or planters in your garden, you can help to slow the flow of rainwater into the sewer. 


Speak up about green spaces

Talk to your local community leaders and groups about local greening projects and sustainable drainage solutions in parks. For example, reducing non-permeable, concrete areas.


Only flush the three Ps (pee, poo, paper)

Wet wipes, nappies, sanitary products or other unflushable items go in the bin. You should also collect fats, oils and greases rather than pouring them down the drain.


Report pollution

If you spot a suspected pollution incident, get in touch so we can act right away.

Planters containing bushes in front of modern building

What can local businesses do to get involved?

  • Do you have a large surface area on your land such as a car park, large roof, or playground? Check if your surface water runs into the sewer.
  • Install raingarden planters or disconnect the surface water on-site through sustainable drainage measures.

To learn more about what we're doing and how we could work together to slow the flow, email us at Partnerships.Overflows@southernwater.co.uk

Bicycle lane under trees

What can local authorities do to ‘slow the flow’?

  • Install sustainable drainage solutions. Planters, tree pits and raingardens all reduce the number of hard surfaces in the community and help to divert surface water back to the environment.
  • Build awareness and enforce regulations around paved driveways. Driveways over 5m2 require planning permission and local authorities should make sure they're permeable or have drainage solutions in place.
  • Only approve new developments and extensions that demonstrate surface water will be separated from the combined sewer.
  • Encourage communities to green their gardens, and use water butts and raingarden planters. These help to tackle rainwater run-off and increase biodiversity.
  • Offer communities more information about surface water overflows and explain who is responsible for them.
  • Promote the importance of only flushing the three Ps (poo, pee, paper) to prevent blockages. 
  • Maintain highways gullies to prevent blockages.
  • Partner with us on schemes to improve the use of sustainable drainage solutions in the community.