Managing rainwater and drainage

We are focusing on making the most of rain when it falls and on managing the flood risk from heavy rainfall.

Putting rainwater to good use

Using rainwater rather than let it all go down the drain can help to relieve pressures on the drainage system – reducing flood risk and the demand for fresh water.

We want to encourage:

  • green roofs – for example, plant-covered roofs that make good use of the rain that falls on them
  • rainwater harvesting - collecting rainwater to water your garden, for example
  • grey water recycling - for example, using wastewater from baths to flush loos
  • sustainable drainage – which helps reduce the volume and speed of water flowing into sewers

Making sure heavy rainfall doesn’t result in flooding

London is vulnerable to surface water flooding. Heavy rainfall can swiftly overwhelm the drainage network, leading to flooding of low-lying areas.

As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall and London’s growth puts added pressure on the drainage network – the risks of floods rise ever higher as do the consequences.

A Londonwide forum for improvement

No single agency is responsible for managing drainage and surface water flood risk. We have therefore created a partnership of all the key organisations involved in our city’s drainage: the Drain London Forum. The forum's members include the:

Towards a Londonwide surface water management strategy

We will work with our partners in the forum to create a strategic surface water management plan for London by 2012. The plan will help boroughs produce their Surface Water Management Plans, will prioritise strategic actions and enable a regional submission for government funding to manage surface water flood risks in London.

Find out more about our vision and strategy for London's waste.