The City receives multiple enquiries from the community about stormwater disposal. Typical concerns are whose responsibility it is if stormwater enters private property, and what to do if the enquirer has a problem. 

There are three issues that can occur:

  • Concentrated flow entering from an adjoining property
  • Natural movement of water across properties
  • Water entering from Local Authority infrastructure.

Find out more about each issue below, including who is responsible for fixing the issue and what your options are.

Concentrated flow entering from an adjoining property

It is the individual landowner’s responsibility to dispose of stormwater in a way that does not adversely affect their neighbours. For example, downpipes that collect rain from a roof area must dispose of the water on the lot, or into the City stormwater system.

Please note: connection to the City stormwater system requires approval from the City. Find out about stormwater approvals. 

Downpipes and tank overflow pipes are not permitted to dispose of water into an adjoining lot. This includes the council street.

Recommended course of action

The movement of water between two properties is a private matter which the City will not get involved with, unless it directly affects the City’s interests.

In the event that stormwater is entering your land from a neighbouring property you should contact your neighbour to discuss the matter.

Once the two parties concerned have reached a mutual agreement over the ownership of the stormwater issue, the City is able to offer technical assistance with possible mitigations to the stormwater flow problem.

The City will not become involved in settling any disputes as a part of this assistance.

Natural movement of water across properties

Natural flow is easily seen on the surface of undeveloped land or on large rural properties.

Development and subsequent building on the land can alter these natural flow paths generating an adverse impact.

Recommended course of action

The control of water movement can be difficult but may be assisted by:

  • Redirection to an acceptable discharge point via a network of open drains around a property
  • Using garden features such as hollows to temporarily hold water, or planting areas to slow down flows.

It is important to consider the land form when setting building pad levels or conducting earthworks to support your development.

You should aim to achieve some separation between the finished ground floor level of the property and surrounding land. It is also good to shape the land at the perimeter of the property to fall away from the house.

It is particularly important to ensure a drainage route around the property exists when cutting in the house pad.

What to do about natural water movement?

In the instance of an unaltered natural stormwater flow it is the responsibility of the receiving landowner to develop in an appropriate fashion.

They must either:

  • Modify the development form to suit the natural flow; or
  • Capture and/or divert the flow away from undesired areas towards a safe legal discharge point without causing flooding to neighbours.

A number of methods exist by which a householder can discharge this duty. It is strongly advised that you seek the input of a practicing Civil Engineer, registered as a professional member with Engineers Australia, if you are uncertain of how to mitigate natural stormwater movement.

Water entering from Local Authority infrastructure

This occurs when the inundation of stormwater exceeds the capacity of the local authorities drainage system to capture and convey the water, resulting in discharge to undesired locations including private property.

All local authority infrastructure is designed to operate in a range of storm events. You are unlikely to receive storm flows from the street drainage system in events less than the 100 year storm.

Recommended course of action

If stormwater is entering your property via the driveway from the public street, It is your responsibility to ensure that the verge crossover contains adequate height to keep stormwater in the public street system.

If you think the water is entering your property from a different source under the control of the local authority, i.e. drainage pits or open drains overtopping or leaking, then you should contact us. If possible take photographs of the water release at the time of flooding as this can assist in determining the solution.

The City will conduct a site investigation to determine the exact cause of the flooding and possible solutions.

More information and contacts

If you require any further information on matters of stormwater please contact us on 9394 5000.

Page Last Reviewed 14 September 2022