Successful communities awarded £6.4m to ‘Reclaim the Rain’ and tackle flooding


Norfolk and Suffolk County Council’s joint Reclaim the Rain project, which aims to implement innovative and sustainable water management projects, progresses.

Reclaim the rain logoThe Norfolk and Suffolk County Council’s joint Reclaim the Rain project, which aims to implement innovative and sustainable water management projects progresses as six communities are selected across both counties.

 The project team received 37 formal applications from communities keen to be involved in Reclaim the Rain. These applications were carefully considered and whittled down to three communities in Suffolk and three in Norfolk.

 The three chosen communities in Suffolk are:

  • Boxford – this community displayed a strong interest in sustainable water management and ways in which the community could be more involved with water management.
  • Friston – who are exploring innovative ways of resolving long-standing hard-to-resolve flood issues.
  • Little Blakenham – they identified some excellent opportunities to work with upstream landowners, allowing them to have a more proactive approach in managing flood water running off their land.

The selection process was based on various factors, including each community’s vulnerability to surface water flooding, water resource needs, rurality and the likelihood of attracting funding outside of our project.

In the coming months, Reclaim the Rain will be working closely with these communities to develop projects which maximise the opportunities to manage risks from both flooding and droughts. The overall project objective is to identify new ways of working that can be learnt from and evidenced to inform and influence future policy, approaches to, and investments in how flood risk is managed nationally in the coming years.

Norfolk and Suffolk both face considerable surface water flood risk, while also being the driest region in the UK. The project will aim to store flood water and make it available for use by agriculture, industry, communities, and the environment.

The project will involve both partner organisations and the community in the development of suitable flood water reuse schemes. The schemes will address the community’s needs in terms of flood risk and water resource requirements, and could result in provision of:

  • Habitat creation and restoration;
  • Irrigation reservoir recharge
  • Rainwater Capture and Reuse for community, agriculture or business use;
  • Retrofitted SuDS;
  • Smart Leaky Water Butts
  • Rain Gardens and more

Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Ipswich, Operational Highways and Flooding, said:

“Flooding is a very real and challenging issue across many areas in Suffolk and there is much we are doing to minimise the risk for our residents. This project will take our efforts to the next level by working with six case study communities to capture that excess water and put it to good use. We live in the driest part of the UK, so every drop that falls on it is precious – any way that we can find a more sustainable use for this water will benefit us now and in years to come.

I am excited by the announcement of Boxford, Little Blakenham and Friston as Suffolk’s chosen communities, and congratulate officers and selected communities across the two counties, in what will no doubt be a fascinating and innovative 6-year programme.”

Theresa Munson, Clerk of Boxford Parish Council, said:

“It's thrilling to be selected to take part in this amazing project, which will help to reduce the worst effects of both flood and drought. Not only will it give us the opportunity to investigate and develop strategies for slowing down and infiltrating water from extreme rainfall events before it hits the centre of the village, which could in turn improve biodiversity locally, but it will give adults and children alike access to tools and information for saving the rainwater we receive, as well as a better understanding of how saving this vital resource can reduce our dependency on tap water and maybe even save us money too.”

Mary Shipman, Friston Parish Councillor, said:

“Friston is excited and honoured to be working with Reclaim the Rain on a project that could change the way we look at rainwater. In future, instead of worrying about where the water will end up, we'll be looking forward to the next deluge so we can put it to good use in the village!”

Stephen Wright, Little Blakenham Parish Councillor, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this first round of Reclaim the Rain with Suffolk County Council so that we can all learn from the experiences and disseminate any information we can. It is my belief we will firstly be able to reduce the likelihood of houses flooding in the village, also, will be able to utilise the water for crop production reducing our reliance on abstracting water from the ground.”