Stormwater and Flooding

Stormwater is the water that drains off any particular area of land due to rainfall. This can include natural overland flows of water due to topography or increased flows due to rain that falls on rooftops and rain falling on ground surface areas such as roads, driveways, footpaths etc. Any water that is unable to enter a man-made drainage system will find its natural path according to the topography of the land, this is referred to as overland flow paths. These overflow paths are typically roadways, public reserves, pathways and often through private property. As a result, flooding and nuisance issues from stormwater is a common problem for many residents. The following provides information on stormwater control and seeks to provide clarification on many common questions posed in relation to stormwater issues:

Owner Responsibility

Property owners must maintain roof water drainage, gutters, stormwater pipes, stormwater pits, drains and any other components of an approved drainage system on their property in good operating condition and in compliance with any Council requirement. Any such drainage system must be connected to a legal point of discharge as designated by Council. Property owners are required to accept natural overland flows from adjoining properties or public land and must not divert or redirect the flow from its natural path on to neighbouring properties. Downstream property owners cannot erect barriers that interfere with that path of stormwater, unless such barrier forms part of an approved drainage system - if you are downstream, you must accept the 'natural' run-off on to your property. Similarly, upstream property owners must not redirect, divert or concentrate stormwater flows onto neighbouring properties. Any works that cause changes to natural overland flow paths must control stormwater via installation of a correctly designed drainage system that is connected to a legal pint of discharge. Works that cause changes to natural overland flows of stormwater include but are not limited to carrying out earthworks, construction of hardstand areas (driveways, paths, concrete slabs) and carrying out landscaping. If there is an easement to drain water through a property, it must be maintained and kept clear of debris and structures to allow the flow of storm water through the easement. 

Developer Responsibility

Minimising stormwater issues associated with all development works within Forbes Shire Local Government Area is the responsibility of the developer. The primary aim of a stormwater management system is to ensure stormwater generated from developed catchments causes minimal nuisance, danger and damage to people, property and the environment. Any development application must consider stormwater drainage as part of the development planning process. All stormwater flows generated from development works will be required to connect to the legal point of discharge as nominated by Council. Further, Council may require the construction of inter allotment drainage systems or onsite stormwater detention systems for certain developments. In such cases, developers are responsible for the design and construction of the stormwater management system.

Council Responsibility

If the property owner fails to maintain any part of the stormwater system and it subsequently causes a nuisance to an adjoining property, Council may direct the property owner to undertake such works as are necessary to repair the system and prevent the nuisance from occurring. The Local Government Act 1993 makes provisions for the control of stormwater, and empowers Council to issue property owners with written directions to undertake such works as are necessary to address an identified breach of this Act. A nuisance being caused by natural overland surface water flow from one property to an adjoining property is generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective owners. Council has limited powers to intervene. Further, private inter allotment drainage easements are the responsibility of the property owners who are burdened by and/or benefited by the easement. If you wish to formally manage discussions, you may also consider contacting the Community Justice Centre. The centre offers free advice and mediation services and can be contacted on 1800 990 777. For emergency help in flood events, contact the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500.

Approval to Carry Out Stormwater Drainage Work  

Council approval is required under Section 68 of the Local Government Act to undertake or modify any storm water drainage work. Works related to stormwater construction require Council approval in the form of a Section 68 application prior to the commencement of works or connection to Council  road gutters, channels or stormwater infrastructure. If you are planning to undertake any stormwater construction works on you property, please contact Council for further information in order to assist with the application process.

Additional information regarding the required payments are set-out in Council's fees and charges. Please note an approval will not be issued until all payments are received.