If you have a watercourse, ditch, stream, river or culvert on, or next to, your land, you are known as a ‘riparian owner’. Riparian owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of watercourses on their land to ensure that they are not a flood risk to other people or property. Well maintained watercourses can significantly benefit the local community by reducing flood risk and creating habitats for wildlife.
Under law, the riparian responsibilities for landowners are to:
- Ensure the flow of water is not obstructed or polluted;
- Maintain the bottom and sides of the watercourse (including managing any trees and vegetation growing on the banks);
- Remove any obstructions, such as rubbish, fallen branches or garden waste;
- Maintain any structures (such as trash screens, culverts, weirs and mill gates) on it.
More information from WSCC is available here.