Surface water flooding happens, for example, when rainwater does not drain away through the normal drainage systems or soak into the ground, but lies on or flows over the ground instead.

This type of flooding can be difficult to predict or pinpoint, much more so than river or coastal flooding.

County and unitary authorities have been given the role as Lead Local Flood Authorities to manage local flood risk including surface water, groundwater, and rivers or streams that are not main rivers. The Environment Agency supports local authorities in this role. This includes sharing data and giving guidance and advice.

The Enviroment Agency do not currently provide flood warnings for flooding from surface water. The sporadic and intense nature of rainfall that causes surface water flooding makes it very difficult to accurately predict where surface water flooding will occur.