Watery worries over low laying land

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Winter is coming and so is the rain. If you own low laying land, you may be wondering how much run off you must endure from the higher land owners.

Owners of higher land (that is being or has been built on) are obliged to construct a drainage system that will dispose of surface water to an appropriate outfall, in compliance with the Building Code. The Code requires all buildings and site work to be constructed in a way that protects people and other property from the adverse effects of surface water. Surface water includes all naturally occurring water which results from rainfall or water flowing onto the site and includes percolating water.

However, lower land is subject to a natural servitude by which it is obliged to receive surface water which falls naturally from higher land. This does not permit the high land owners to cause damage to your land, which did not occur when your land received the natural flow, either by means of an artificial work or structure which makes the water flow onto your land in a way different from before, or by using their land so that the result of such use is the discharge of water with altered concentration or velocity.

So there you have it, although you are obliged to receive naturally falling surface water, your neighbours are responsible for constructing adequate drains and are prohibited from doing anything that would cause damage your property.

Having said that, the easiest way to deal with the issue may be by issuing a fencing notice in respect of the inadequate boundary fence.


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