Flooding is a recurring issue in Osney. The most serious recent events were in summer 2007 following freak rainfall, and in winters 2012 and 2014. A great deal of work has been done since 2007 to protect properties from flooding, including the installation of permanent pumps, the provision of demountable barriers which the Environment Agency can erect along the river banks, and the opening up of the channels downstream of Osney to speed the drainage of water out of the floodplain.

When flooding does occur it is useful to know that:

  • it takes 4–6 days for the river level to peak following heavy rain, as water moves down the catchment area from the west
  • flooding on the island and in the Botley Road area occurs very slowly and there is plenty of time to prepare
  • the lowest point in the island is the junction of South Street and Bridge Street and the water rises here first – not along the river bank
  • the water level in the streets rises slowly as the groundwater rises
  • if your house is at risk move everything you can upstairs, pack bags and secure valuables
  • even in recent severe flood events only a small number of properties on the island have been affected
  • some vulnerable properties have been provided with small pumps to keep water below floor level
  • flooding of local parks, allotments and meadows is a normal annual feature of this area and not a cause for alarm

Key contacts

Government flood information service


Here you can see what flood warnings are in place, register to be sent flood warnings (by phone, email and text), and view river levels.


For the latest flooding information in the area.

0345 988 1188, select option 1 and then quickdial 171173

Oxford Flood Alliance (OFA)


A community pressure group which works with local agencies, lobbies on flood-related matters, holds annual public meetings and can offer advice to local residents.

Part of OFA’s work has been to campaign  for improved flood defences and a major scheme — the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme — is under development.

Oxfordshire County Council

Advice about flood-proofing your home: https://www.oxfordshirefloodtoolkit.com/pdfs/12/protect-your-home.pdf