NSW Stormwater inundating my backyard from neighbours property - easement question

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philipe

Member
10 August 2020
2
0
1
I have a rear neighbour whose yard is higher than mine. His yard slopes down towards the back fence. The street is also higher, so his stormwater (and all 14 neighbours next to him, are "higher" than me) but lower than their front street, so their stormwaters connect to a pipe in their backyard and they all have a drainage easement.

Here is a diagram to explain further.
diagram.jpg

On the subdivision plan it says "Easement to Drain Water 1.5m wide" and it runs along their entire back yards at the boundary.

1. I suspect this pipe has sprung a leak, unfortunately right in my neighbours backyard, and water from the other 7 houses "up stream" of this pipe, their stormwater is flowing out of it, in my neighbours backyard but then flowing through his soil and ending up in my yard, flooding my yard and the back of my house.

Council won't investigate and say stormwater is a civil matter. That it is a 'private pipe' and every one of the neighbours is responsible for their little bit in their own yard.

I have no evidence (except the pool of water in my yard).

How can I get this investigated e.g. digging a hole in the neighbours backyard to inspect the pipe, to see if it is leaking and causing water to flow out of it and into my backyard? The neighbour is not very cooperative unfortunately. I have asked them several times but they just fob me off and don't want to know about it.

Is council correct or is this indeed their issue? It is a 250mm pipe which runs servicing 14 houses and ends up dumping water into the kerb/stormwater system on the public road. It probably was put in place by the developer.

Do I need to get a property lawyer to write him a letter requesting he investigate his drainage issue and this stormwater pipe?
Can I involve my house insurance?
Should they have to pay to investigate that pipe? Should all the neighbours? Council? Me?

I spent 20k on my yard drainage as initially I thought it was my own problem, but this has not alleviated the problem, there is simply WAY too much water for me to drain out to my street myself.

2. Separate to this, does the rear neighbour have an obligation to control the flow of stormwater on his property? Or if the natural land slopes downward towards my block, then he can let nature take its course? He has a big pool of water in his yard too, (but away from his house), because his stormwater dumps straight onto the ground in his yard. I don't know why he doesn't connect to this stormwater pipe in the yard. Which leads me to question maybe it is blocked, leaking or there is an issue.

Any advice appreciated!
 

philipe

Member
10 August 2020
2
0
1
Quick update, I spoke to the neighbour and asked if I could send a plumber at my cost and would they be willing to provide access and allow him to dig a small hole to inspect the pipe if needed, they agreed surprisingly.

Separate to this, Council are so far unwilling to help. Yet they have powers under Section 124 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) to issue orders to the neighbour e.g. item#12 " To do such things as are necessary to control the flow of surface water across land" when " Other land, or a building on the land or other land, is being damaged or is likely to be damaged "... yet the officer from the council is saying this applies to things like air conditioning dripping!

I am trying to ascertain whether because their landscaping/backyard slopes towards the rear (in our property direction), and this is 'natural', then they have no obligations ? They do have pipes from their back verandah which flow water straight onto their grass yard in our direction, but council is saying that its far enough away and "shouldn't be an issue".

If anyone has any advice would be great to hear.