Stormwater and drainage
The City’s drainage assets are worth more than $300M and includes more than 42,000 drainage pits and 940kms of pipes and culverts. The City spends $1.5M per annum maintaining the system so that it remains serviceable. It also invests annually in the renewal and upgrade of existing stormwater systems to benefit the community.
The Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme includes provisions to protect water quality and minimise negative urban stormwater impacts. If your project requires a planning permit, you need to meet the water quality and quantity requirements to help ensure the health of our waterways.
If your project does not require a planning permit you are encouraged to embrace the City’s recommendations for stormwater management.
City of Greater Bendigo is becoming a Water Sensitive City (WSC) to ensure we become a thriving inland city, where water innovation supports healthy people, green environments and resilient systems.
Drain safety - don't enter a drain
Entering stormwater drains is dangerous and illegal, and could cost you your life or endanger others who rescue you.
Conditions inside a drain can become very hazardous without warning. For example:
- Water levels can rise even on a dry, sunny day
- Rainwater can arrive suddenly, having fallen many kilometres away
- Slow moving flows can quickly become raging torrents
- Areas with poisonous gases and low oxygen can be deadly
- Drains may contain steep, hidden slopes, making it easy to slip and difficult for others to hear you call for help
We can’t cover up all stormwater drains and grilles – this would restrict water flows and cause a build-up of litter and debris, leading to flooding.
Stormwater flows are generated from rain. The rainwater falls on a variety of surfaces which influence the quality and quantity of water absorbed into the ground, those in the stormwater system and those flows across hard surfaces also called run-off. The City’s stormwater drainage system carries these flows outfall generally to creeks, which then flow to rivers and ultimately the ocean. It is important only clean water goes into this system.
Stormwater is completely separate to the sewerage system. Toilets, sinks, showers and baths in your home are connected to the sewerage system which flows to treatment plants to treat it for reuse or release. Coliban Water is responsible for this system.
The drinking water supply to taps in your house is also a different system. It is supplied under pressure from treatment plants and reservoirs. Coliban Water is responsible for this system.
House gutters, downpipes, buried pipes from your property to the street or to the pit at the rear of your allotment and any other private drainage structures such as grated trenches and pits within private property, are the responsibility of the property owner.
The Property owner is responsible for the installation, maintenance, operation and replacement of all private stormwater to the City specified Legal Point of Discharge or connection point (See below section on ‘Permits and Approval of Works’).
The City is responsible for all assets downstream of this connection point, including drainage pits, pipes, side entry pits in the street, manholes, headwalls, culverts under roads, open channels and retardation basins.
How to report problem of a City drainage asset:
When constructing hard surfaced areas (e.g. driveways, concrete and paved areas), landscaping and any other impervious surfaces or drains you must control the stormwater in order to prevent concentrated flows onto any adjacent property. A landowner must not discharge concentrated flows illegally across lot boundaries. A concentration of flow is anything that is beyond the natural run off of the land in its undeveloped state.
Every property owner is responsible for ensuring that water is discharged from their property correctly and does not affect adjoining owners. Inadequate or damaged drainage can cause issues such as damage to buildings, undermining foundations or landslip, which may result in costly repairs or legal action from affected persons.
Council have no legislative power to require a person to maintain or install stormwater systems to existing buildings or install drainage to landscaping. Liability arising out of the flow of water is an offence under the Water Act 1989 - Section 16, if your neighbour's water drainage is causing issues to your property, you should first talk with your neighbor and try to reach a mutually suitable solution. If this does not work, you can contact the Dispute Settlement Centre for a non-legal mediation service, or take legal action through a solicitor.
All buildings should have guttering and downpipes installed, maintained in good condition and connected to the legal point of discharge. Connection to the City's pipes and pits are the responsibility of the property owner.
Customers are welcome to contact the City with requests related to stormwater issues, maintenance, system performance and flooding.
Regular customer requests received include: Blocked pits and pipes; broken pits and pipes; undersized pipes; pipe intrusions (tree roots, utility services and resident tampering); poor earthworks practice (e.g. directing surface flows to house) and; property in low-lying area.
If residents feel their life or property is at imminent risk, please contact the SES: https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/about/contact
The City has limited resources available for ready deployment in the event of a major storm, however it will assist as far as resources allow.
If you observe stormwater is entering from a neighbouring property, in the first instance speak to your neighbour. They may not be aware of the issues their property may be causing. If agreement cannot be reached, consider contacting the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria:
All properties owners have legal obligations to capture, collect and dispose of stormwater from all hard surfaces, through underground pipes to the City nominated Legal Point of Discharge so as not cause a nuisance to adjoining property owners. See Water Act.
In general, your neighbour is responsible for controlling stormwater runoff 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 runoff 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 a civil matter to be resolved between the respective owners. City has no legislative powers to intervene. More information on how to address this issue at: https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/case-types/unreasonable-flow-of-water-between-properties
If you believe the City’s stormwater drainage system has caused the problem, please report to the City for an investigation after the event.
“Water being blocked/diverted upstream away from my dam” – This is a private matter between property owners. The City recommends speaking with your neighbour in the first instance to attempt to reach a resolution. If a resolution cannot be reached consider contacting the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria:
Further reading: WATER ACT 1989 - SECT 80 Power to give directions concerning dams
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% AEP flood event. 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% AEP flood event. In addition, development must not increase flood risk or hazards to people and neighbouring properties.
The legal point of discharge is a point either within the allotment or at the allotment boundary specified by City where stormwater from a property must be discharged. This point must then be properly connected to City infrastructure (typically a stormwater drain or a drain in an easement where available, or street kerb and channel).
City is regularly asked to provide direction on the legal point of discharge for both existing properties and the redevelopment of residential, commercial and industrial developments.
Under Section 133 (2) of Building Regulations 2018, it is a legal requirement that all property owners ensure that the stormwater drainage from their property is directed to a legal point of discharge and properly connected to City infrastructure, as nominated by the City.
This is a legal requirement every time you change your roof or paving, irrespective of whether you have obtained this type of approval for your property in the past.
The property owner is also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the drain between their legal point of discharge and the ‘connection point’ into City infrastructure, even if this connection point occurs within a street reserve or public land.
In the building process and in relation to building permit applications, a legal point of discharge must be obtained. A legal point of discharge may also be required if your current drainage system is not connected anywhere, is inadequate, or you have a proposed modification.
You can apply for a legal point of discharge from City, which provides the location to which the stormwater drainage discharge from your land must be directed. There is an application fee for this report.
Apply for a “Legal Point of Discharge” (LPoD) using the form at LPoD
The City’s stormwater drainage network is viewable in the City’s public mapping system. Unfortunately, the City has very limited information regarding private property stormwater drainage.
The City provides a public mapping service where a lot of information is available including, location* of the City’s drainage network and; creek & overland flowpath information. The mapping system is available here: http://bendigo.pozi.com/
*location is indicative only and no excavation is to take place without physically locating the asset prior to any works. Further indicative underground service information is available at ‘Dial-before-you-dig’. Contact can be made via:
- Phone 1100
- Log request on https://www.1100.com.au/#
Be aware aerial photos don’t always align with the property boundaries in the mapping system, so be sure to engage a licenced surveyor to peg out your property extents on the ground to be certain.
If you are proposing to carry out any work within the road reserve (i.e. typically outside your front fence), including driveways and drainage connections, you will require a Works Within Road Reserve Permit. Application forms and further information on this process is available here:
The City will endeavour to work with you to resolve your drainage concern and will often go to great lengths, including video inspection of pipes, to identify the problem. If the problem is on the City network, the City will repair it. If the fault is in private property or on private drainage, it is the owner’s responsibility to repair.
If you feel strongly that the City is at fault for damage caused to your property, the City has a claim lodgement process. The relevant information is available here:
All structures to be built over a drainage easement requires the City's approval and consent. Examples of structures that require approval include:
- Swimming Pools
- Houses/ Extensions
Please not this does not preclude the need to obtain other relevant approvals and requirements.
In general structures are not recommended over easements, however, some may be approved with conditions, if the structure is non-permanent and can be fully removed.
Each application is assessed in a case-by-case basis as there are many factors to consider.
If you intend to build over an easement please fill the following application: Build-Over
Make a drainage request
If you are concerned about the stormwater drainage system in any area or find a pit or drain that needs inspection or maintenance you can lodge a request for our staff to investigate and program the required treatment of the issue.
- Make sure you check our diagram of responsibilities.
- Blocked drain or surcharging pit
- Damaged/missing pit lid or raised pit
We're updating the information on flood-prone properties and areas. We encourage you to register your property if it has experienced significant flooding. This helps us progress stormwater investigations and drainage projects.