Flooding could be about to get worse in Chichester but Bognor may get some respite

Groundwater flooding could become a long-term problem in Chichester, according to the environment agency.

Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th December 2019, 5:05 pm
Flood warning

Heavy rainfall led to widespread flooding across the county last week, with Sussex Police warning motorists to avoid travelling.

After the weekend was met by more rain, Aldingbourne Rife burst its banks, leaving the Tesco car park in Bognor Regis knee deep in water. Read more hereAccording to the GOV.UK flood information service, a month's rain has fallen in the past week and groundwater levels are high and rising.

Groundwater flooding has been reported in West Dean, Singleton, Charlton, East Dean and Chilgrove and residents were issued a flood alert over the weekend.

Mike O'Neil, a spokesman for Environment Agency, said: "We have had a lot of rain in the last three or four days. It's not unprecedented but it's definitely above average. There has been a lot of rain in such a short amount of time.

"There is due to be more rain today and then bit more on Boxing Day. It won't be significant but it will keep the ground wet. The Aldingbourne Rife water level is set to lower so the flooding will ease in and around Bognor in the next few days.

"The ground water level is going up rapidly and in Chichester, especially in the north villages, there will be disruption. It will be a long-term problem going into January. The ground acts like a big sponge and the water will come out slowly.

"We are continuing to keep an eye on it and we will have people working over Christmas but the short-term outlook is generally better."

The GOV.UK flood information service website reported an increase of more than two metres in the 24 hours since Friday (December 20) at Chilgrove borehole.

It added: "While the rate of rise should slow slightly, initial emergence and impacts of groundwater flooding is possible from Wednesday (December 25).

"Impacts to include springs flowing and water along roads, such as the B2141 Chilgrove Road and Charlton Road. Water may begin to enter basements.

"Groundwater will continue rising throughout [the] week. The week commencing December 30 will remain unsettled, which means further rain and rising groundwater levels is probable, but how much will depend on how much rain occurs."