South Australia: Who Is Responsible For Stormwater Drains?

who is responsible for storm water drains

If you’re a responsible homeowner, you’re already careful about what you flush, you keep an eye out for leaks, you have a plunger under the sink and you might even flush your own hot water system now and then. But did you know that when it comes to your stormwater drains, it’s not just about personal responsibility? South Australian authorities, including the government, the council and the Department for Environment and Water put the onus on you to help control the runoff that not only threatens your neighbour’s property but the entire community.

Who is responsible for storm water drains?

So who is responsible for stormwater runoff? That would be you. Remember, a significant amount of the water that enters the community stormwater system comes from your roof, which is directed into your gutters, downpipes and stormwater drains. That runoff includes debris like leaves and litter, but also harmful pollutants and chemicals that can harm families and the wider environment.

If you’re wondering about the storm water drain on my property, then, the personal, legal and moral responsibility is clear – it’s all down to me. Sure, once that runoff enters the community system, it’s over to the authorities. So who is responsible for stormwater drains on your land? That’s all down to you, including:

Nonetheless, determining who is responsible for storm water drains can become more confusing once you realise that regulations differ from council to council all across South Australia. What they all have in common, however, is the way the councils, the state, SA Water and you – the homeowner – are always required to work together to tackle the problem of stormwater.

Let’s break it down a little:

1. Your property

First, the simple bit – the bounds of your property. In a nutshell, from a stormwater perspective, it’s almost always your responsibility, and your responsibility alone. That means any stormwater or runoff that originates from the sky and ends up at your place needs to be properly managed by your stormwater infrastructure before it enters the legal discharge point.

2. The legal discharge point

So what’s that legal discharge point, exactly? That’s up to the council, but it’s actually determined by the building surveyor who wrote up the original planning permission report. Your council then keeps a copy of that – and leaves all of your private stormwater collection up to you.

If you’re not sure about your discharge point or major renovations mean it may have changed, get in touch with the council.

3. Your responsibilities

So, as well as your roof, gutters, downpipes, drains and pits, what else are you actually responsible for? Well, it definitely matters if your runoff is troubling the neighbours, you’re responsible for absolutely every aspect of your stormwater whilst it’s on the property. Potential exceptions, however, are sewer and drainage easements.

4. What about the neighbours?

As mentioned above, you need to ensure your runoff isn’t just making it your neighbour’s problem. Conversely, it’s also possible that you’ll need to cope with overland flow from adjoining private or public land, so if you think that may apply to you, once again get in touch with the council.

5. Try to avoid a dispute

Unfortunately, one of the most common irreconcilable disputes with neighbours is about stormwater. But don’t bother complaining to the council, the state or any other regulatory authority – because all they’ll tell you is that you’ll need to pursue them in a civil suit. However, you may be able to access helpful mediation services for these types of run-ins.

Ask Fawcett Plumbing about your stormwater responsibility

Did that clear up precisely who is responsible for stormwater drains? If you’ve still got questions, the most trusted 24-hour emergency plumbers across Adelaide and beyond are always standing by, ready to provide professional advice and services. So give the friendly team at Fawcett a shout today.

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