Carlisle Flooding 2005

Case Study 2 –Carlisle Flooding, 2005

On 8th January 2005 River Eden flooded Carlisle. Flood Return Interval is 200 years. Carlisle is a city in North Cumbria. At risk due to:

  • River Eden which runs through Carlisle has a very large catchment area so catches a large amount of rainwater leading to higher river discharge
  • Watersheds have steep sides.
  • Streams drain quickly to river, low lag time

Main Causes (Physical):

  • Heavy rainfall on 6th January for 36 hours. 200mm recorded, same as 4 average months.
  • Ground already saturated, surface runoff increased.
  • Peak discharge of over 1520 cumecs compared to average of

Human Causes:

  • Urbanisation – Lots of tarmac, not much vegetation
  • Drains and sewage systems overflowed


Social :

  • 3 deaths
  • 3000 people made homeless,
  • 4 schools severely flooded
  • Increase in stress related illness


  • Increased river bank erosion
  • River polluted with sewage and rubbish


  • A year to repair damage at a cost of £100,000 million
  • 350 businesses shut
  • United Biscuits largest employer was flooded. 33 employees lost their jobs
  • 70,000 addresses lost power
  • 80 buses destroyed and many roads and bridges also destroyed.