Navigating the complex responsibilities that accompany stormwater drains can be daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with the laws and regulations regulating them. Luckily, this blog post provides a comprehensive guide to understanding and fulfilling your individual rain runoff contribution obligations.
With this informative reference at your fingertips, you can be sure to stay on top of your stormwater responsibilities. If you’re not sure how, you may need to call a licensed plumber and get professional advice about stormwater runoff on your property. Let’s take a look.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the runoff of rain that is not absorbed into the ground, but instead flows over roads, lawns, sidewalks, rooftops and other surfaces. This runoff often contains pollutants such as oil and grease from roads, as well as pesticides and fertilisers from lawns.
As stormwater enters lakes, rivers and even our own homes, it carries these pollutants with it. All of these issues can be prevented by taking precautionary measures such as maintaining vegetation cover to slow down runoff speed, installing filtration systems to catch pollutants and establishing green spaces to keep sediment out of waterways.
The Responsibility for Stormwater Drains by State
Now that you know why this issue is one to take control of, it’s important to know who is actually in charge of taking care of stormwater in your state. Let’s take a look.
Australian Capital Territory
In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the management of stormwater infrastructure predominantly rests with the ACT Government and its subsidiary, Icon Water. They are responsible for the comprehensive system of stormwater channels, ponds, and wetlands.
While they oversee the larger infrastructure components, individual property owners are generally responsible for the drains and systems within their own property boundaries. If there are issues with these, such as blockages or overflows, it’s up to the property owner to address them, often with the assistance of a professional plumber.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, stormwater management is split between local councils and Sydney Water. Local councils typically handle stormwater drainage within local roads, parks, and public spaces, while Sydney Water manages stormwater systems in most metropolitan areas. However, homeowners are responsible for the pipes and drains inside their property. They need to ensure that these systems are properly maintained and any blockages or issues are rectified promptly to prevent damage to public stormwater systems or neighbouring properties.
In Queensland, the responsibility for stormwater drainage is shared between local councils and the Queensland Urban Utilities. Local councils generally take care of public stormwater systems in roads and public spaces, while the Queensland Urban Utilities are responsible for larger stormwater systems and flood management in the urban regions.
Homeowners, on the other hand, need to ensure that the stormwater systems within their property boundaries are well-maintained, functional, and free of blockages.
South Australia has its stormwater responsibility divided amongst the local councils and SA Water. While SA Water is responsible for the wastewater and sewage systems, the stormwater management typically falls under the jurisdiction of local councils.
They manage public stormwater infrastructure such as drains, culverts, and retention basins. Property owners, however, are responsible for maintaining the stormwater systems on their own property, ensuring that they are in good working order and not contributing to larger issues in the public system.
In the Northern Territory, the responsibility for stormwater drains lies with local government, such as shires or city councils. As part of that responsibility, they have to protect and maintain not only the drain infrastructure but also the water sources in the region.
They need to make sure that any existing drains are in full working order and free from blockages or overflows. They also need to be literate about potential sources of pollution and take action where needed.
The state of Tasmania has a responsibility to ensure that its stormwater drains are managed correctly and effectively. This means more than just cleaning out the odd clog. It involves creating and enforcing regulations that govern how stormwater is collected and directed, being sure to take into account environmental concerns such as water pollution, flood risk management and public health. But it’s down to TasWater when sewage is involved.
In recent years the government has taken proactive steps to ensure that Victoria is prepared to deal with the expanse of water during times of heavy rain. This includes rigorous maintenance on existing catchments, as well as constructing new systems designed to limit flooding. In short, it is up to the state government of Victoria to ensure that its citizens and infrastructure are safe from extreme weather patterns with effective stormwater drains.
However, it is up to homeowners to manage stormwater on their own property draining down to state drains.
Stormwater drains are responsible for reducing flooding and ensuring water runs off safely into local waterways, taking pollutants away from urban or developed land. In order to ensure these critical systems are properly maintained, Western Australia have created an intricate network of regional authorities and structures.
These range from city councils and water corporations, all the way down to individual households, with each playing its part in managing stormwater before it enters our waterways.
Being informed about stormwater responsibilities can help homeowners take proactive steps to ensure that their properties and the surrounding environment are well-protected. If you’re ever in doubt about your obligations or how the systems work, reaching out to a licensed plumber or your local council can provide clarity.