ALMOST 20,000 properties are at risk of flooding in Adur and Worthing.
West Sussex County Council has launched the Flood Push 2013 campaign to encourage people to act now so that they are prepared if the county is hit by heavy rainfall, flash storms or an increase in sea levels this winter.
Due to climate change, the risk of flooding is more frequent and more severe.
Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “Floods turn lives upside down, which is unfortunately what happened to people in parts of West Sussex last summer.
“Flooding is a complex and unpredictable problem, so residents must prepare themselves and their homes against the threat of it happening.
“Acting now can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.”
Homeowners are urged to check to see if their property is at risk of flooding, either from surface water or from river or sea risk.
Worthing district contains the Worthing wet spot covering the low lying coastal urban area.
The flood risk in the town is posed largely by surface water, and if an extreme rainfall occurred, 10,400 properties would be at risk.
As Worthing district is largely urban and is bordered either side by the Ferring Rife and Teville Stream floodplains, the town as whole would only in a very rare tidal and storm event see flooding from the sea.
The risk of flooding is therefore posed from a combination of groundwater, sewer, surface water run-off and coastal wave overtopping.
In Shoreham, Sompting and Lancing there are 8,650 properties at risk of flooding.
The Adur is most likely to flood as a result of heavy rainfall combined with a high tide.
In the past, surface water flooding generated by run-off from the South Downs has flooded property in Lancing and Sompting, the airport and West Beach Estate.
The Environment Agency and local authorities are responsible for managing the flood risk to coastal properties by maintaining the groynes and sea walls, replenishing the beach material and maintaining the natural beach defence.
The county council manages the local flood risk for groundwater flooding, surface water runoff and streams and ditches.
Householders and businesses should make themselves aware of flood risks they may face and undertake any maintenance that may be required.
Those in high risk areas are advised to make a flood plan, so that they can act quickly and make practical decisions in the event of a flood.
This should include keeping a list of phone numbers handy, including your insurance company, making sure you have the right insurance policy, checking you know how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies and putting important documents in a safe place in a polythene bag.
People should also think about what belongings they would want to move during a flood, and parents are advised to talk to their children about the possibility of flooding, and agree a meeting place if this occurs.
To find out if you are in an at risk area, go to www.environment-agency.org.uk