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Flooding and drainage

The responsibility for maintaining and repairing public drains and sewers falls to either Hampshire County Council or one of two water authorities.

On this page:

Water authorities

The New Forest area is served by two water authorities: Southern Water and Wessex Water. You can confirm which water authority covers your property by checking a recent water bill.

To contact your water authority, use the details below.

Southern Water: call 0330 3030368 or visit the Southern Water website.

Wessex Water: call 0345 6004600 or visit the Wessex Water website.

Drainage pipes

You are responsible for the drainage pipe that serves only your property and is within the boundary of your property (except downstream from the point at where another property joins your pipe).

Southern Water or Wessex Water are responsible for:

  • all drainage pipes that are outside the boundary of your property
  • those drainage pipes within the boundary of your property that serve two or more properties.

If you have a damaged drainage pipe that you believe is the responsibility of your water authority, contact them directly.

Foul drains and sewers

If you have a blockage that you believe is the responsibility of your water authority, contact them directly.

If you are a housing tenant, contact the Housing Maintenance Asset and Compliance Team.

If the blockage is in your own drain, you should contact a drainage contractor for assistance.

Septic tanks and cesspools

You are responsible for maintaining and emptying your septic tank or cesspool. You may need to find a local contractor to help with repair work.

If a neighbour's septic tank is overflowing, please discuss the problem with them first as they may not be aware of it. If you are unable to do so, or if the septic tank or cesspool is flowing into a ditch, please contact us.

Surface water drains and sewers

You can report faults or problems with the surface water sewers, including highway drains, to Hampshire County Council.

Call 0300 555 1388 or visit the Hampshire County Council website to report a flood or drainage problem.

Some surface water sewers are the responsibility of your water authority. If you have a problem that you believe is the responsibility of your water authority, contact them directly.

We have no responsibility for surface waste sewers and as a result are unable to investigate defects or blockages in a private surface waste system.


If you own land that has a ditch or watercourse on or adjacent to it, you are a 'riparian owner' and are responsible for maintaining those watercourses and preventing them from flooding.

Watercourses are any natural or artificial channel above or below ground through which water flows.

Visit the Hampshire County Council website for flood prevention guidance.

Contact us

Email:       Phone: 023 8028 5411

8.45am - 5.15pm Monday - Thursday, 8.45 - 4.45pm Fridays

Environmental Health, Appletree Court, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA

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