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The management of stormwater on private property is essential in preventing damage to nearby properties. In some circumstances, should disputes surrounding stormwater arise, Council may be able to assist in resolving issues. However, where Council is unable to help, you may need to investigate alternative methods to reach a resolution.

Stormwater FAQs

Stormwater is runoff from roofed or paved surfaces that causes nuisance flooding or damage to an adjoining property. It could also be overland flowing of water from one property that causes erosion or flooding on an adjoining property.

Natural overland flow is stormwater that has flowed from neighbouring lands due to the natural slope of the land.

If your property is on lower land you will need to accept and manage natural overland flow from higher ground, whether this is private property or public land.

If your property is affected by natural overland flow, you must not restrict, divert or redirect the flow to cause impact or nuisance to an adjoining property.

As a property owner, you are responsible for the maintenance of:

  • infrastructure - roof guttering, downpipes, sumps and/or other stormwater structures such as inter-allotment drainage easements
  • stormwater flowing off your property from paved areas such as footpaths and driveways
  • ensuring stormwater from roofed and paved areas, gutters and rainwater tanks is directed to an approved disposal point without impact to neighbouring properties
  • overland flow resulting from excavation, landscaping and constructions (such as, swimming pools and retaining walls).

Neighbour Stormwater Disputes

Step 1

The first step to resolve the matter is to contact the owner of the property you believe is the problem directly. If an agreed solution cannot be reached and you believe it is an issue Council can assist with, for further advice you should contact Council on (02) 4988 0255.

Step 2

If Council decides to investigate the matter and take steps to resolve the issue, Council will firstly discuss the issue with those involved and make a determination. Relevant parties will be advised of the outcome in writing.


If the problem is an issue that Council is unable to assist with, you are encouraged to seek advice through the Port Stephens  Community Justice Centre.

If the problem is an issue that Council may be able to assist with, the following actions may be taken:

  • Council can direct property owners to control the flow of surface water from roofed buildings and paved areas.
  • Council can direct property owners to control the overland flow of surface water from land that has been altered in a way that concentrates or re-directs water to an inappropriate location that results in damage or nuisance.
  • Council can decide to investigate the matter, and if appropriate, take steps to resolve the issue.

Drainage FAQs

Environmental Health and Compliance
Phone: 02 4988 0255
Email: council@portstephens.nsw.gov.au