Do you have a river, stream, ditch or culvert running through, or alongside your property?
If so, you are probably responsible for its maintenance and this guide is for you.
You can also download a copy of the water living leaflet to refer to. Please be aware that this guide is due for an update. For the most recent advice on clearance of obstructions, please read the Waterside Living guide information.
Rights of a riparian owner
1. To receive a flow of water in its natural state, without undue interference in quantity or quality.
If you believe that landowners upstream or downstream have altered or redirected a watercourse you share, and that this is affecting the flow of water through your land, you may wish to contact your local council for advice.
In addition, other people are not necessarily entitled to discharge water into your watercourse. In order to do so, they may need to obtain both your permission and that of the local council and / or the Environment Agency.
2. To protect your property against flooding from the watercourse and to prevent erosion of the watercourse banks or any nearby structures.
For most works you must apply for formal consent from the Environment Agency or your local council. They will look at the surrounding area and make sure that the works you are planning will not cause an adverse effect upstream or downstream.
The Environment Agency will also assess whether any works are likely to affect the local environment, fisheries and wildlife, which they have a duty to protect.
Please note all of the above would need to be done at the expense of the riparian owner.
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