ADA Press Statement following recent flooding

First released on 31 Dec 2015

The Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA) is the association for water level management organisations in the United Kingdom, with over 230 members.

Following the recent weather events, the Association’s members have every sympathy with the people living in those areas affected by flooding, notably in the Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria areas of the country.

Offers of staff and resource assistance from a number of Yorkshire Internal Drainage Boards have been extended to the Environment Agency following the Boxing Day flooding. Innes Thomson, ADA’s Chief Executive commented, “Flooding has yet again caused significant misery to many people across the north and west of the country and we must accelerate our review of water level and flood risk management to much more fully encompass the idea of a catchment-wide approach, working more closely in partnership and properly managing and maintaining the rivers and structures that we already have”. He continued “We need to invest in proper resources and skills to manage water and think much more innovatively about how we work with water and all the component parts of a river catchment to provide that additional flood (and drought) resilience needed”

Ahead of these damaging floods, the Association of Drainage Authorities has been actively engaged in discussing the future of water level management with Government and other relevant flood risk management partners, as well as working with other associations and bodies to stimulate new thinking and action to make this country more resilient to the kinds of event that we have just experienced.

In asking the question “Are these flood events the new norm?”, ADA are asking government to act on the following six points;

  • Water levels and flood risk should be managed on a whole life approach.
  • Investment for maintenance should be increased and determined on a multiyear basis.
  • The Government’s six-year capital investment programme should remain in place and be balanced against increased maintenance spending.
  • Where Government withdraws from work because it is not cost effective under their funding formula, they should ‘invest to save’ so that local communities can take greater ownership of water level management assets and operations, through devolved accountability and decision making.
  • Encourage land managers to contribute toward, and play a part in, flood risk management delivery.
  • Support investment in water level and flood risk management innovation to enable new techniques to develop that allow us to adapt to our changing climate.

A more detailed summary of the case presented to Government is attached to this statement, for background information and referencing.

Detailed Summary: The future of Water Level and Flood Risk Management November 2015 (pdf)

For further information on the value of water level management to our social and economic wellbeing, please refer to ADA’s website at

End of Statement