· Redirecting and/or concentrating of overland flow
In some cases, stormwater flow from neighbouring land occurs due to the natural terrain (slope) of the land, called natural overland flow. Lower properties must, in most circumstances, accept and manage natural overland flow from higher ground whether flowing off private property or public land. Natural overland flow must not be restricted, diverted or redirected in such a way as to cause an impact or nuisance to an adjoining property.
A property owner cannot be held liable when surface or seepage water flows naturally onto an adjoining property.
If any change to the overland flow path occurs on a property, the storm water runoff should be collected and directed to a legal point of discharge.
· Seepage water
Seepage water is the responsibility of individual property owners. Where sloping blocks have been excavated to obtain a flat yard or building site, seepage drains should be constructed to redirect water to a stormwater drainage system.
You should liaise with neighbours to address any problems. If possible, drainage easements can be created to direct water to a council stormwater drainage system.
· Reporting a Stormwater Drainage Issue to City of Newcastle
Prior to City of Newcastle commencing any storm water drainage investigation, we require the person(s) affected to have undertaken certain actions including:
- Reading all information concerning stormwater drainage complaints as contained on our website.
- Attempted to resolve the situation by raising the issue with the owner of the property the water is coming from.
If this is not possible advice and mediation support to resolve neighbourhood disputes can be sourced from the NSW Community Justice Centre at no cost.
The CJC may be contacted on:
Free call: 1800 990 777
Fax: 02 8688 9616
- It may be necessary to seek independent legal advice through a private Solicitor or by consulting with a Chamber Magistrate at a Local Court.
Record your complaint in writing outlining what action you have taken and the result.
We will not commence any investigation until these actions have been completed.
Action by City of Newcastle
When will City of Newcastle take action:
We will investigate storm water drainage complaints only 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 have been met:
- Evidence is produced that substantiates the surface water has caused or is likely to cause physical damage to land or building on the other land;
- Surface water has been directed to and/or concentrated in a particular area by a man-made structure or drain; or
- Surface water is the result of defective roof drainage from a dwelling or outbuilding.
When will City of Newcastle not take action:
We have the discretion to take no action (or is unable to take action) in circumstances where:
- The surface water is natural run-off from the property due to the topography and it isn't redirected in any manner
- Surface water is flowing down and/or across existing hard surface areas such as driveways, tennis courts, concrete slabs or paved areas
- The location of a dwelling or outbuilding impacts on surface run-off
- Surface water run-off occurs only in periods of exceptionally heavy rain
- Surface water is a result of overflows from storm water absorption pits where contours of land and lack of access prevent direct connection of a building's roof water to the City of Newcastle's stormwater drainage system
- The run-off is from new development work that is the subject of a development consent and has been constructed in accordance with that consent
- The drainage problem involves discharges from defective or blocked private inter-allotment drainage easement infrastructure (e.g. pipes and drainage pits).
Please note: private inter allotment easements are the responsibility of the property owners who are burdened by and/or benefited by the easement.