Mid-Western Regional Council’s stormwater and drainage program is designed to provide a highly effective and efficient stormwater collection and disposal system that achieves an optimum balance between the level of protection and minimum cost to the community.

About stormwater

Stormwater drainage is the process of collecting, conveying, and treating rainwater that runs off surfaces such as roofs, roads, and parking lots. The collected stormwater is then discharged into nearby waterways or groundwater systems. This process helps to prevent flooding and protect the environment by preventing pollutants in the stormwater from entering and harming rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water. The drainage systems are designed to handle a specific amount of water flow and can include a network of pipes, channels, retention ponds, and other structures.

The stormwater drainage system is separate to wastewater, wastewater is the liquid waste generated by a community down sinks, showers, toilets and floor drains, and taken to the sewer treatment plant for processing to be safely recycled and used for irrigation purposes or returned to the environment.

Stormwater drainage works

If you require to carry out stormwater drainage work or connect a private drain or sewer with a Council controlled public drain or sewer, a Section 68 approval is required. Section 68 approvals are required under the Local Government Act 1993.

More information

Stormwater easements

A stormwater easement allows for the construction, maintenance, and use of stormwater infrastructure on a piece of land. Easements can include things like underground stormwater pits, drainage pipes, drainage swales, culverts and detention basins. The purpose of a stormwater easement is to allow for the proper management and disposal of stormwater, which can help to prevent flooding and protect the environment.

Both local government and property owners upstream may have the authority to guide stormwater through or discharge it onto an easement. Constructions, buildings, or landscaping are not permitted within or close to the boundaries of an easement. Interallotment drainage systems transport stormwater from private property to a council drainage system by crossing over other properties. These systems are typically located along the back boundary, with a single grate for each property. Property owners are responsible for maintaining and servicing interallotment drainage systems as per the details mentioned in the property's legal documents.

Stormwater issues

Property owners may often experience issues with flooding caused by stormwater. This can lead to damage to property and distress for residents. When the underground drainage system has reached is capacity and is unable to take any more stormwater, the stormwater will flow over land  until it will find its way to natural depressions, open channels, public reserves and roadways until it eventually discharges at nearby bodies of water. This is what is referred to as an overland flow path.

The natural flow of water on a property refers to the path that water takes down a slope following the contours of the land before any excavation, development, or building occurs. An upstream property owner cannot be held liable simply because water flows naturally from their land onto a neighbor's property. Liability may be incurred if the water is made to flow in a more concentrated form than it would naturally. Ideally, water runoff should be directed to the street or to a drainage system if one is provided. Property owners should be aware that landscaping can alter the way that water is distributed on a property. Council is unlikely to investigate complaints about the natural flow of stormwater between properties.

Property owners on sloping sites should be aware that natural surface water runoff flows down the slope following the contours of the land. Unless the cause of the surface water meets specific criteria, property owners are responsible for installing surface water controls. Any diversion of surface water must be done in a way that does not negatively impact other properties lower down the slope.

Property owner responsibilities

As a property owner, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage from heavy rain:

  • Keep your roof water drainage, stormwater pipes, gutters, downpipes, stormwater inlet pits, and other components of your approved drainage system in good condition and in compliance with any council requirements
  • Allow natural overland flow from adjoining properties or public land to flow through your property without diverting, redirecting, or concentrating it onto neighboring properties
  • Be aware that as a downstream property owner, you cannot erect barriers such as large walls or closed fencing that interfere with the path of stormwater. You must allow the natural flow of stormwater onto your property
  • Ensure that all buildings on your property, including sheds, have an adequate stormwater drainage system connected to a legal point of discharge, such as the council street kerb and gutter, an inter-allotment drainage system, or a council-controlled drainage easement or reserve
  • When constructing hardstand areas, control stormwater in order to prevent it from flowing onto adjacent properties. It's best to minimize the area of water-resistant surfaces, such as concrete or paved areas and driveways
  • If there is an easement on your property, keep it clear of debris to allow the natural flow of stormwater

It is important to comply with AS/NZS 3500.3:2003 Plumbing and Drainage Part 3: Stormwater Drainage, which requires roof water and stormwater to be drained to one of the following: Council street kerb and gutter, an inter-allotment drainage system, or a Council-controlled drainage easement or drainage reserve.

When Council will not act

In certain circumstances, Council may choose not to take action or may be unable to take action regarding surface water run-off. These include instances where:

  • Heavy rainfall is the only cause of surface water run-off
  • The surface water is a natural result of the topography and is not redirected in any way
  • Surface water flows across hard surfaces such as driveways or tennis courts
  • The location of existing structures impacts surface run-off
  • The run-off is from development work that is in compliance with a development consent
  • The drainage problem is due to blocked or defective private infrastructure, such as pipes and drainage pits.

It's important to note that property owners are responsible for stormwater outlets from their property to the kerb and gutter and if you believe your stormwater outlet has been impacted by works, contact Council.

Additionally, Council will not act in cases of:

  • Overflows from stormwater absorption pits
  • Surface water damage to unauthorised building work or building work not in compliance with the Building Code of Australia
  • Sub-surface water or flow through retaining walls
  • Insufficient evidence that the surface water is causing physical damage to land or buildings

Stormwater disputes

If you're experiencing stormwater runoff from a neighboring property, it's important to communicate with your neighbor. This is a private matter and should not be addressed by Council. Consider consulting with a licensed plumber or drain layer to determine the source of the water and the best solution to the problem. It's also important to regularly maintain your stormwater drains to prevent pollution, property damage, and flooding.

To resolve stormwater disputes, it's best for neighbors to communicate and work together. In more complex cases, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a stormwater engineer to design a stormwater management system tailored to the specific circumstances.

If you find yourself in a dispute, the Community Justice Centre offers free mediation services for neighborhood disputes. You can reach them at 1800 990 777.

Council may investigate and act in relation to stormwater drainage complaints where it relates to the flow of surface water from one property across the common land boundary onto another property, and where the following criteria has been met:

  • Proof that the surface water has caused or is likely to cause damage to another property's land or building; and
  • Surface water that is being directed or concentrated by man-made structures or drains; or
  • Surface water that is caused by faulty roof drainage from a building

When submitting your customer request please be aware of the following:

  • Photographs of issue as it occurs
  • Consult with your neighbor first
  • Identify the location and source of the issue
  • Council may commence legal action
  • You will be required to maintain and repair your stormwater system