KIRKLEES Council is failing to empty 36,000 drainage gullies every year, it emerged today.
There are 80,000 roadside gullies in Kirklees which need emptying at least once a year.
Kirklees Council has a target to carry out 90,000 emptyings each year, which means five gully emptying machines have to each clear 18,000 gullies.
But this year, only three of these machines have been working, meaning 36,000 gullies have been neglected, putting roads and properties at risk from floods.
The shortfall has been caused by machine breakdowns, lack of staff and employees being off sick.
Currently, 85% of gullies are working but 14% - around 10,000 gullies - are blocked.
Around 8,000 of these blocked gullies can be cleared by water jets but 2,000 are completely cut off and need excavating.
South Kirklees is suffering most - so far, only 20% of gullies there have been cleared.
However, in north Kirklees the gully clearing programme is on target.
Council highways officer Richard Bunney said: "The emptying of gullies is critical because it affects the state of the roads and the flooding of properties. The gullies are there to take away water but if some are blocked it is not efficient."
To solve the crisis highways officers are putting in bids for cash from the council's 2005/6 budget to make three major improvements.
The first will be a blitz to empty all gullies in Kirklees.
Officers will then decide whether five emptying machines are sufficient to maintain the gullies.
The second step will be to carry out a programme of repairs to drains, watercourses and land drainage to reduce the risk of flooding.
The final step will be the creation of a strategic drainage team within the highways department.
This team will carry out flood risk assessments on planning applications and provide drainage advice.
It will also liaise with the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water as well as providing advice to those developing the council's Local Development Plan.
The council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel was considering the plans today.
It will make recommendations but the final decision will be taken by the full council when the budget is approved next March.