Fluvial (Main River) Flooding

What is a main river?

Main rivers are classified by DEFRA and are usually the larger and often cross-border rivers. The management of flood risk from main rivers is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.

Flooding from main rivers is caused during prolonged periods of heavy rain causing river levels to rise. This results in the river overtopping its banks and spilling into the floodplain. Residents who live or work in or near to the flood plain of a main river are most at risk of flooding from this source.  

Residents can check their level of risk from main rivers by consulting the Environment Agency’s website to view the Risk of Flooding from Rivers and Sea dataset. This web viewer also illustrates the locations of main rivers in the city.

Riparian ownership

If you are a riparian owner of a main river, for example if you live next to a main river, or it flows through your land, you have very important and specific legal responsibilities to manage flood risk. Further details can be found on the Riparian Ownership page.

Main rivers in Derby

We have very few powers in relation to the management of flood risk from main rivers so residents are advised to visit the Environment Agency website for further information or contact them by telephone on 03708 506 506. Residents can also check the latest Flood Warnings and River Levels on main rivers in the Midlands on the Environment Agency’s website.

The following watercourses are designated as main rivers for at least part of their length through Derby:

  • River Derwent
  • Chaddesden Brook
  • Cotton Brook
  • Cuttle Brook
  • Hell Brook
  • Lees Brook
  • Mackworth Brook
  • Main Drain
  • Markeaton Brook
  • Meadow Drain
  • Osmaston Drain

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