HAMPSHIRE County Council is urging residents to help prepare for winter rain by ensuring ditches in their gardens are free from autumn leaves.
The council says it spends over £2m a year maintaining highway drains and more than 200,000 roadside gullies.
But many gullies and watercourses are on private land, and blockages can often lead to flooding after heavy rainfall.
Cllr Mel Kendal said: ‘Everyone can play a part in tackling flooding by keeping ditches and watercourses around their property clear of fallen leaves, and not adding to them with grass cuttings or other garden waste. This is particularly important at this time of year as fallen leaves can cause blockages and spells of heavy rainfall mean that saturated ground cannot soak up any more water.’