When it comes to those millions of litres of stormwater that are collected by your roof, channelled into your gutters and stormwater drains and into the community system, you might think it’s all very straightforward. But when considering who is responsible for storm water drains, the importance actually has two distinct and critical parts:

  • Protecting your home and family from damage & health issues
  • Protecting your entire community.

And that’s precisely why the question of who is responsible for stormwater drains NSW wide all gets a little murky – because who, precisely, is responsible for what in our great state?

But before we answer that explicitly, it’s crucial to understand that while the weather in Sydney is awesome from a global perspective, our climate and topography actually make stormwater flooding issues a really big deal for everyone. Because whatever water doesn’t effectively make its way from the tip of your roof into the community system will end up somewhere else – like the street or your neighbour’s place.

So if you’re seeking a quick answer to ‘who is responsible for the storm water drain on my property’, here’s the quick answer: YOU!

Your stormwater responsibility NSW-wide

Actually, while there are common themes from a state and even country-wide perspective, it is the individual local councils that actually outline your particular stormwater responsibilities. But if you’re looking for a general Sydney and NSW perspective regarding your responsibilities as a property owner, here they are:

1. It’s your responsibility

If the water falls on your roof, or elsewhere on your property, you – and only you – own the problem in the vast majority of cases.

2. It’s your property’s stormwater system

Remember, you own your property – and that includes your roof, gutters, downpipes, drains, inlet pits, and every other part of the stormwater infrastructure within the boundaries of your land.

3. You must maintain it

And with that ownership of everything outlined in #2 means you acknowledge that your system has not only been council approved but is also:

4. Natural overland flow

However, as well as dealing with your own stormwater, you might also be required to accept natural overland flow from either nearby or adjoining public land or your neighbours’ properties. So if you’re one of these downstream properties, you cannot put up any walls, fences or other barriers that interfere with that stormwater.

And if there’s an easement on your property, you’ll also need to make sure this is maintained and debris-free, as well.

5. What about other buildings?

Does your place have sheds and other buildings separate from the main house? Well, these types of buildings and structures will have to feature their own stormwater drainage systems too – and they’ll also need to be properly connected to the kerb or another community discharge point.

What if you breach neighbours water runoff law NSW?

If you let any of these responsibilities slip, council officers could soon be on your case to investigate further. These investigations are normally triggered by a complaint from a neighbour, who will typically have been asked to provide evidence of the problem like photos. However, the council may also tell the complainant to try talking it out with you face-to-face before escalating the investigation and potentially taking action.


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As for the council’s responsibilities, they are basically charged with maintaining every aspect of the community system EXCEPT what’s going on at your property – although they may intervene to help out with any easements.

Masters in stormwater responsibility Sydney wide

Need to know more? You’re in luck because our team of plumbers Sydney wide at Rapid Service Plumbing are renowned masters of Sydney stormwater drainage solutions. For advice, repairs, full stormwater system installations and much, much more, get in touch with Rapid Service Plumbing today and we’d be delighted to help with an obligation-free quote.