Wodonga Council
Drainage and stormwater

Page URL: https://www.wodonga.vic.gov.au/Building-Planning/Infrastructure/Drainage-and-stormwater

Drainage and stormwater

 /  Building + PlanningInfrastructureDrainage and stormwater

Owners' Drainage and Stormwater Responsibilit­­­ies

Wodonga Council receives complaints each year regarding stormwater run-off causing a nuisance to adjoining or downstream property owners.

Land owners are required by law to maintain the stormwater pipes, gutters, downpipes, stormwater pits and any other components of their approved stormwater drainage system in good condition and in compliance with any building codes and council requirements.

Owners are also required to accept natural overland flow from adjoining properties or public land and must not divert or redirect the flow from its natural path on to 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 on to your property.

When constructing hardstand (hard surfaced) areas (like driveways, concrete and paved areas, landscaping and any other impervious surfaces or drains), you must control the stormwater in order to prevent concentrated flows on to the adjacent property.

The council provides roads and drainage systems to collect and convey stormwater to creeks and rivers. It also maintains the stormwater mains owned by the council on private property.

The council may direct a property owner to connect to the council’s stormwater drainage system or other legal point of discharge, if available and practical to do so.

 The Victorian Water Act 1989 makes provision for the control of stormwater and the council may issue property owners with a written notice if they are in breach of this Act.
If you construct a driveway on to public land, you must ensure that drainage along the road is not disrupted.

The land owner is responsible for all damage caused to driveways from local flooding.

You might also be required to apply for a Road Occupation Permit from the council.
You might experience drainage problems when stormwater runs off public land or roadways and forms ponds or flows through your property.

All of these enquiries should be directed to the council via our customer focus team.

Stormwater run-off flooding from your neigbours property


If stormwater run-off from your neighbour’s property is flooding your property, you should take different action depending on the cause:

  • Flooding caused by damaged or missing downpipes or guttering
    If your neighbour’s downpipes or guttering are damaged or missing, phone our Building Services team for further advice. However, this may be a civil matter. We have little or no legislative power to require your neighbour to maintain their downpipes or guttering. You should first talk to your neighbour and try to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre* for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. 
  • Flooding caused by new landscaping, paving, concreting
    If your neighbour has recently completed landscaping or installed new paved or concreted areas, you should first try to reach a mutually suitable solution with your neighbour. If this doesn't work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre* for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16. 
  • Flooding caused by a small shed
    If your neighbour has recently erected a small shed (under 10m2), this is a civil matter. We cannot control how your neighbour builds structures of this size as they do not require a building permit. You should first talk to your neighbour and try to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre* for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. 
  • Flooding caused during building construction
    Builders should put in place temporary measures to prevent surface water, flooding other properties while a building under construction temporarily has a roof without guttering or downpipes. If the builder has not put in place suitable measures to prevent flooding, you will need to take your own legal action. If this is the cause of flooding on your property, you should first check the sign at the site for the contact details of the builder and contact them. If they do not respond, contact the building surveyor who issued their permit. If you cannot get these contact details, phone our Building Services team. 
  • Flooding caused by rainwater tanks
    If the flooding is caused because your neighbour has not connected the overflow of a new rainwater tank to their underground stormwater system, who you should contact depends on whether your neighbour’s house is new or existing:
    For new houses, phone our Building Services team to find out who is responsible for the construction. If flooding is occurring on an existing property, talk to your neighbour and try to reach a mutually suitable solution.
    If this doesn't work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre* for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16.

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. If a solution is not reached, the matter can be referred to the Dispute Settlement Centre* for mediation.

Dispute Settlement Centre – Hume Region
c/- Wangaratta Justice Service Centre
119-121 Murphy Street
Wangaratta VIC 3677

Telephone (03) 5723 6414 or 1300 372 888


Waste water and sewerage drainage issues

The sewerage system that carries water away from your laundry, kitchen, bathroom and toilet to a main sewer is not council infrastructure. Enquiries should be addressed to North East Water.

Property owners are responsible for cleaning and repairing all private sewerage drains. For advice on sewerage problems, please contact North East Water.

Stormwater Drainage Frequently Asked Questions


What stormwater drainage pipes am I responsible for?

Each property is allocated with a location to direct their stormwater drainage. Typically this location will be to a council underground drain or to the kerb and channel in the adjacent roadway. This discharge location is known as the Legal Point of Discharge (LPOD). All drainage issues beyond this point are the responsibility of the council.

All drainage infrastructure related to the drainage of private properties up to the Legal Point of Discharge is the responsibility of the property owner. This includes sections of pipe in the nature strip or road reserve that discharge stormwater to the kerb or pipe connections (tapping) to a council drain.

The property owner is responsible for ensuring that storm water pipes are connected to the council nominated Legal Point of Discharge and that their stormwater run-off does not affect other property owners.

For issues relating to private drainage, it is recommended you contact a plumber to investigate.

Stormwater drainage pipes on my property are blocked. What should I do?

All drainage infrastructure related to the drainage of private properties is the responsibility of the property owner. This also includes sections of pipe that discharge water to the kerb and channel or pipe connections to a council drain.

The property owner is responsible for ensuring that storm water pipes are connected to the council nominated Legal Point of Discharge.

If you suspect there is a blockage in one of your drainage pipes. you should contact a licensed plumber to investigate.

I have an issue with sewerage pipes on my property. Who can I call?

The sewerage system carries water away from your laundry, kitchen, bathroom and toilet to a main sewer and is not a council area of responsibility.

Enquiries should be addressed to North East Water. Property owners are responsible for cleaning and repairing all private sewerage drains.

For advice on sewerage problems please contact North East Water.

Where do I connect storm water from my property if there is no council drainage system?

It is not uncommon for some older residential areas to not have a direct connection to public stormwater drainage assets. In these cases, properties most likely drain to soakage pits (otherwise known as rubble pits or soak away) or private drainage lines, the maintenance of which lies with the property owners they serve.

If there are persistent problems with stormwater run-off in your area, there are two options for residents to consider.

  • Drainage infrastructure can be installed to service your property either through a drainage scheme whereby the design and construction of the drainage is fully funded by the property owners it services and the ongoing maintenance will be the responsibility of the council. It becomes a council asset.
  • Construction of a private drainage system. The council must approve a private system but the installation and ongoing maintenance of the system is the responsibility of the property owner/s.

Any stormwater management system should not cause adverse effects to adjoining properties and consideration should be given to issues such as proximity to the property boundary and overland flow paths.

You should contact the council to determine closest point of connection for your stormwater or for further advice relating to a future drainage scheme.

Stormwater is entering my property from a neighbour’s property. Who is responsible and what can I do?

All properties owners have legal obligations to capture, collect and dispose of stormwater from all hard surfaces, through underground pipes to the council nominated Legal Point of Discharge so as not cause a nuisance to adjoining property owners.

In general, your neighbour is responsible for controlling stormwater run-off from their property. Water flowing from hard surfaces, such as paving or roofing, should be collected and discharged in an approved manner. Your neighbour is not responsible for controlling stormwater run-off from natural surfaces, such as grassed or treed areas. Any excess stormwater water caused due to significant landscaping works must also be controlled.

Problems with overland stormwater flow between neighbouring properties are generally a civil matter to be resolved between the respective owners. The council has no legislative powers to intervene. The type of action you should take depends on the cause of the stormwater.

Stormwater issues can include the following.

Overland stormwater flows caused by damaged or missing downpipes or guttering or overflows from a rainwater tank

If your neighbour’s downpipes or guttering is damaged or missing (not blocked), or if your neighbour has failed to connect the overflow of a rainwater tank to their underground stormwater system, you can report this matter to the council’s Building Services team and a Building Order for Minor Works may be issued.

The council recommends first trying to talk to your neighbour or even writing them a short note to make them aware of the issue. You may find this leads to a quicker and more amicable resolution to the drainage issue without the need for council to intervene.

Overland stormwater flows caused by new landscaping, paving, concreting

If your neighbour has recently completed landscaping or installed new paved or concreted areas that have redirected or caused water to flow on to your property, this is a civil matter. The council cannot control how your neighbour landscapes or pave their property as these activities do not require council permits or approval. You should first try to discuss the matter with your neighbour to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn't work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16.

Overland stormwater flows caused by the installation of a small shed - under 10m2

If your neighbour has recently erected a small shed (less than 10m2) that is causing water to flow on to your property, this is a civil matter. The council cannot control how your neighbour builds structures of this size as they do not require a building permit. You should first talk to your neighbour and try to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act Section 16.

Who is responsible for drainage controls on a building site?

Individual builders are responsible for management of stormwater on a building site during construction. Builders should put in place temporary measures to prevent surface water flooding other properties when a building under construction temporarily has a roof without guttering or downpipes. If the builder has not put in place suitable measures to prevent flooding, you will need to take your own legal action.

Complaints about buildings under construction should be directed to the builder or building surveyor whose contact details are shown on the building sign at the front of the property. These details can also be sought from the council’s Building Services team.

Who is responsible for groundwater seepage into my property?
Groundwater and groundwater seepage are considered natural occurrences and the property owner is responsible for making provisions to manage this water.
What is an On-Site Storm Water Detention system?

An On-Site Storm Water Detention (OSD) system is designed to restrict the flow of stormwater from a development site to a rate equal or less than the pre-developed site conditions.

All new developments, particularly unit developments, create an increase in hard surface area resulting in a higher volume of runoff being discharged into the council's existing drainage system. The existing drainage system was not designed to cope with the increased volume of runoff.

An OSD system is required as part of all new developments across the city to limit stormwater flow rates to pre-development levels. Stored flows are released slowly thus not increasing the overall rate of discharge.

Who owns and maintains the OSD system?
An OSD system located within a development site is a private asset that is owned and maintained by the owner/s or owners corporation. The council is not responsible for these systems.
What is a retarding basin?
A retarding basin is a dry basin which holds back water and releases the water slowly through a constrained outlet during a large storm to protect properties, drainage infrastructure and rivers downstream of the basin. If you notice a blockage in the outlet of a retarding basin, please contact the council’s Customer Focus team.
What is a 1-in-100-year storm event?
Storms are classified using historical rainfall data and statistical probability; A 1-in-100-year storm event is a storm with characteristics that are only expected to occur on average once every 100 years. Naturally, with any statistical probability, there is a possibility that multiple events could occur in much shorter succession. We could receive multiple 100-year storm events in consecutive years. In fact, a 100-year storm has a 1 per cent probability of occurring in any given year.
Why does the council drainage system struggle during heavy rainfall?

The council’s underground drainage system was designed based on industry best practice at the time of its installation. For much of the municipality, this is identified as a 1-in-five-year storm frequency. As such, the underground drainage system should be able to contain up to 80 per cent of rainfall events that occur during any year. However, during storm events that exceed this probability, it is expected that the capacity of the council stormwater drainage network will be exceeded and overland flows will result.

During extreme rainfall, these overland flows can result in flooding of roads and properties. Properties in low-lying areas and natural gullies are most at risk from overland flows. Property owners are encouraged to keep overland flow paths clear of objects that will obstruct the overland flow of water and increase the risk of inundation to habitable areas.

My property has been identified as being flood prone. What does this mean?

If your property is listed as flood prone, then it is expected that during heavy rainfall you can be affected by flood waters.

Planning and floodplain management authorities are responsible for identifying properties that may be subject to flooding from a 1-in-100 year flood. Properties that have been identified as being flood prone may be included in a “flooding” overlay in the planning scheme.

An overlay is a map in a planning scheme that shows the location and extent of special features, such as where land may be subject to flooding. In the case of flooding, overlays are an important way to manage development in order to minimise the effects of overland flows and flooding on new buildings and ensure new development does not adversely affect other existing properties. If your property is affected by flooding, new development must be designed so that new buildings are protected from a 1-in-100 year flood. In addition, development must not increase flood risk or hazards to people and neighbouring properties.

The open table drain at the front of my property is in a poor state, who do I call?
The council is responsible for the maintenance and repair of open earth (table) drains in areas where underground drainage is not provided. Maintenance enquiries regarding open drains should be referred to the council’s Customer Focus team.
The pipe under my driveway is blocked. Who’s responsible for its maintenance?

Any sections of pipe within an open drain or underneath private driveways or vehicle crossings, including the driveway or vehicle crossing itself, are the responsibility of the property owner. Under the Local Government Act, the council may require the mandatory maintenance and or replacement of these piped sections at any time if they are deemed to be causing a restriction to the flow of water in the open channel or do not meet council’s minimum standards.

Pipes under private driveways are the responsibility of the property owner. The property owner is responsible for ensuring stormwater is not obstructed by blockages at these piped sections.

The council stormwater pit in my street is blocked. Who do I call?
Blocked storm water drains can be reported to the council. Cleansing requests can be lodged with the council’s Customer Focus team.
The water supply main at the front of my property has burst. Who do I contact?
Water supply mains are maintained by North East Water. Should you have any emergency in regard to water flowing either on the road or into your property from a burst water main, please contact North East Water