1. Overview

Council's stormwater collection system is located within roads, reserves and easements and is made up of a network of structures including pipes, pits, channels, flood retarding basins, sedimentation basins, wetlands, raingardens, gross pollutant traps and litter traps.

Household and property drains are owned and maintained by property owners.  You should always use a qualified plumber to carry out any plumbing work.

2. Landowners’ Responsibilities

Every property owner is responsible for ensuring that stormwater is discharged from their property correctly and does not affect adjoining landowners.  Inadequate or damaged drainage can cause issues such as damage to buildings, undermining foundations or landslips, which may result in costly repairs or legal action from affected persons. 

Council have no legislative power to require a person to maintain or install stormwater systems to existing buildings or to install drainage to landscaping. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act 1989 - Section 16, if your neighbours stormwater drainage is causing issues to your property, you should first talk with your neighbor and try to reach a mutually suitable solution.  If this does not work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre at 1300 372 888 or for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor.

Stormwater Drainage

All buildings should have guttering and downpipes installed, be maintained in good condition and connected to the legal point of discharge.  The Victorian Water Act 1989 makes provision for the control of stormwater and Council may issue property owners with a written notice if they are in breach of this act.


When constructing hard surfaced areas (e.g. driveways, concrete and paved areas), landscaping and any other impervious surfaces or drains you must control the stormwater in order to prevent concentrated flows flowing onto any adjacent property. A landowner must not discharge concentrated flows illegally across lot boundaries. A concentration of flow is anything that is beyond the natural run off of the land in its undeveloped state.

New Buildings Under Construction

Builders should put in place temporary measures to prevent surface water flooding other properties where their building is under construction and the stormwater drainage has not been completed.  The relevant Building Surveyor who issued the Building Permit is responsible for ensuring stormwater drainage is installed and connected to the legal point of discharge.  To find who the relevant building surveyor is for the works, please refer to the site sign at the property, Council's Building Permit Register or contact the Building Services Unit on 03 5232 9400.

Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater tanks must have the overflow connected to the legal point of discharge.

Overland Flow

Landowners are required to accept natural overland flow from adjoining properties or public land and must not divert or redirect the flow from its natural path onto neighbouring properties. 

A downstream property owner cannot erect any type of barrier that interferes with the path of stormwater unless provision is made for the flow to discharge to an approved drainage system. If you are downstream, you must accept the ‘natural’ run-off onto your property.

3. Legal Point of Discharge

You can obtain your legal point of discharge, showing where your stormwater is to be connected to Council's stormwater system, by completing an application form available below or at one of our Customer Service Centers in Colac or Apollo Bay.

4. Crossovers

If you construct a crossover within the road reserve you must ensure that drainage along the road is not disrupted. Standards of crossovers vary from location to location depending on the infrastructure present. You are required to apply for a Works Within the Road Reserve application form available below before undertaking crossover works. Council will advise you of the appropriate crossover standard as part of this process.

5. Council’s Responsibility

Council provides roads and drainage systems which convey stormwater to creeks, rivers, lakes and foreshores; some of these drainage systems may be located on private land within drainage easements.

Council has set requirements in terms of its responsibilities to maintain its drainage infrastructure. Any operational issues experienced with Council infrastructure should be reported by contacting Council on 03 5232 9400.

Runoff from public land

You may experience stormwater runoff from public land through your property. Road Authorities such as councils have broad powers under the Water Act to discharge water from roads through natural gullies. Any enquiries can be made to 5232 9400.

6. Disputes between neighbours

Problems with overland stormwater flows between neighbours are generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective land owners. Respective land owners should discuss the situation to try and find a mutually agreeable solution. For more information on your rights of dispute, please visit the website of the Dispute Settlement  Centre of Victoria at provided by the Department of Justice.