Flooding & Abstraction



  1. It is reassuring to know that someone, somewhere, has taken the time and effort to apply the precision and ingenuity of parliamentary draftsmanship in order to define, at least for the purposes of the FWMA 2010 if no other, what is meant by a flood (and what it is not).
  2. At common law, on the other hand, it has been said that the precise meaning of the word “flood” is “a matter of some uncertainty” (Wisdom’s Law of Watercourses 6th Ed. at 3-38).  It is “thought” to mean “a large and sudden movement of water which arises in some abnormal and violent situation”. Thus in Young v Sun Alliance and London Insurance Ltd [1976] 3 All ER 561 it was held that a gradual seepage of water did not involve a flood. In case you are wondering, Mr Young’s home was built on meadow land, and over the course of two years water slowly accumulated to a depth of three inches in his lavatory.  His claim against his insurers in respect of this “flood” did not succeed.
  3. It seems to me, and I assume that even the insurers in Mr Young’s case would agree, that what Yorkshire and Lancashire (to name just two counties) have just experienced qualifies as flooding.

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