Planting the seeds of a flood resilient future

Rainwise planter and NW employees


A water company is leading by example in its bid to help people across the North East become more resilient to flooding.

Rain garden planters have been installed around Northumbrian Water’s head office in Pity Me, County Durham, as part of its Rainwise initiative.

The planters, which were created onsite by the company’s Maintenance team, capture and store rainfall from the roof of the building.

The rainwater is diverted into the planter from the downpipe and then absorbed by the soil and plants. Each planter can hold around 260 litres of water within the soil, equivalent to around four bathtubs full.

This will help to reduce the risk of flooding by reducing the amount of water directly entering the sewer network, as well as slowing the amount of water that does.

Across the region, the sewer network is being put under increasing pressure due to heavier rainfall and less green space to soak up rainwater naturally.

Rainwise aims to spread the word about how managing rainfall better can help increase capacity in the network and encourages residents to make small changes around their homes and gardens.

Richard Warneford, Wastewater Director, said: “These planters don’t just brighten up our building, they’re functioning and alleviate some of the pressure on our sewer network, as well as helping to build awareness of small-scale surface water management.

“Encouraging our customers to implement green solutions like this is pivotal to our Rainwise initiative as they complement our traditional infrastructure and can help communities build resilience against flooding in future.

“They might not seem like they store a huge volume of water on their own, but if we all were to add something similar to our home, just think how this would add up across the region.”

For more information on Rainwise, visit

For media information contact 0191 301 5678.

Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customers in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.

In the most recent survey by the Consumer Council for Water, Northumbrian Water was named the UK’s most trusted water company by its customers. 2017 also saw Northumbrian Water named the world’s most ethical water company for the seventh successive year.

Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham DH1 5FJ. Telephone 0345 6047468. Website:

We use cookies on our website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our cookies. Terms and Conditions