Residents have been warned to keep a watercourse clear as work to reduce the risk of flooding in a Northamptonshire market town starts.
The Environment Agency is removing debris and clearing the banks from Hog Dyke at Raunds, near Wellingborough.
The 10-day project includes cutting overhanging branches and removing fallen trees.
The Environment Agency said people who lived next to a watercourse had a responsibility of care.
Project head Malcolm Owers said: "Works will help to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses in Raunds by reducing the risk of the watercourse becoming blocked.
'Prepare for the worst'
"They will increase the flow of water to help the dyke cope with heavy winter rainfall.
"However, the maintenance works can only reduce the risk of flooding. They cannot completely remove it.
"People living and working in the area therefore need to be prepared should the worst happen."
In the past, flood risk from Hog Dyke has been increased by people disposing of garden waste and other rubbish in the watercourse.
In March 2008 two properties were flooded when one of the screens became blocked making it impossible for water to flow away safely.
The Environment Agency said: "People who live next to a watercourse are likely to own the land up to the centre of it (riparian owner) and have a responsibility to maintain both the watercourse and banks.
"This means keeping them clear of all types of waste."