Work on a new community-led initiative aimed at reducing the risk of flooding proactively will get underway next month.

Northumbrian Water is investing £785,000 to upgrade the sewer network that serves Prudhoe, Wylam and Ovingham, as part of its surface water management programme, Rainwise.

The initiative, which is being rolled out in locations across the North East, involves working with communities to identify opportunities to reduce the amount of surface water that enters the sewer network.

This will help to reduce the risk of potential flooding in areas that have not necessarily suffered flooding before, while providing additional benefit to those that have.

Work will begin in Wylam from Monday March 13, 2017 and is expected to take around seven weeks to complete.

The programme will then move into Prudhoe at the end of April and is expected to take up to 11 weeks to complete.

During the work, contractors ESH-MWH will install a total of nearly 300 metres of additional sewer pipe to help increase capacity in the network across key areas. These include Dene Road in Wylam and Tyne View, Castle Road and Maple Grove in Prudhoe.

A swale, a long grassy channel that collects rainwater naturally, will also be created in land between Rowan Grove and Prudhoe Castle First School.

In Ovingham, proposals are being developed to deliver the Rainwise scheme in partnership with Northumberland County Council’s own surface water management project.

Northumberland County Council has developed a funding package of £717,000 for surface water management in Ovingham - from the local flood levy, flood defence grant in aid and the council itself.

The work is expected to begin in September and take up to six months to complete. Key areas include Dene Close, Wheatfield Close, Castle View, Dene Garth and Piper Road.

Residents in Ovingham are being invited to find out more about the joint project and give their feedback on the proposals at a drop-in customer information session on Tuesday March 7 2017 between 3.30pm and 6.30pm at Ovingham Reading Room, West Road, NE42 6BW.

The various agencies will be on hand to speak through the proposals in detail and plans of the work will also be on display.

Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, Ian Davison, said: "A growing population, heavier rainfall and more hard surfaces that don’t absorb water are putting increasing pressure on our sewer network.

"Increasing the capacity in the network is particularly important to reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall.

"We’re committed to working in partnership to reduce the risk of flooding in a cost effective and sustainable way and I would like to encourage our customers to get involved in our Rainwise initiative too.

"Making small changes at home, such as installing a water butt or creating a rain garden, can help manage rainwater in a natural environment and benefit the community as a whole.

"While our work is carried out we will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum and would like to thank the community for their cooperation."

Cllr Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with Northumbrian Water through the Rainwise programme.

"Any improvements which reduce the risk of flooding and its impact on residents are most welcome. I would encourage Ovingham residents to go along to the customer information session in March to find out more about the proposed work."

Customers can visit for regular updates and progress about the work being carried out in the area, or by calling Northumbrian Water on 0345 717 1100 or tweeting @nwater_care.