Stormwater and drainage

We are responsible for ensuring stormwater drainage systems owned by the City of Greater Geelong function as they are designed.

With more than 2,450 kilometres of drains to manage across our municipality, the stormwater collection system – located within roads, reserves, drainage easements and private properties – is made up of a network of structures including pipes, pits, open drains, retarding basins and litter traps.

The City is responsible for ensuring drainage systems across Greater Geelong function as they were designed – this means they can collect, convey and hold stormwater.


Drainage - easements on private property

The land on which a drainage easement exists belongs to a property owner. Service authorities (including the City) have right of access, regardless of who owns the property. The City also has statutory rights under the Local Government Act that give us the same rights as an expressed easement on title.

Property owners must ensure clear access is available for service authorities. When landscaping, property owners must ensure drainage assets and easements remain uncovered or can be easily cleared. Unfortunately, tree root intrusion into pipes (both yours and ours) is our biggest cause of pipe damage. When planting trees, consider the location of easements and underground pipes to avoid issues in the future. The City has rights to expect landowners to remove vegetation or other obstructions at their expense.

We have the right to access private property to undertake any work necessary to ensure our stormwater drainage systems can function as designed.

  • In normal circumstances, as a courtesy we will seek permission from a property owner to enter, prior to commencing works
  • At times, we may need to act quickly and without warning – in that case, property owner permission is not required


Drainage - functional maintenance

The City is responsible for ensuring drainage systems function as designed – that is, they capture, convey and store stormwater during and after rain events. This includes maintenance and repair of City-owned drainage infrastructure (such as pipes, inlets, outlets, pits, open drains, retarding basins and litter traps). The City is not responsible for private stormwater infrastructure.

To ensure public safety, residents must not attempt to lift or move any stormwater lids under any circumstances. Such action may cause personal injury as well as damage to our assets. Use this link to report an issue with a pit lid.


Drainage – vegetation maintenance in a drainage easement

The City is responsible for all vegetation maintenance on our property (e.g. mowing reserves).

The City is not responsible for vegetation on private property for amenity or fire protection – vegetation in drainage easements on private property is a property owner’s responsibility.

Maintaining vegetation in a drainage easement is a property owner’s responsibility:

  • If the drainage easement is on City property, we will maintain the vegetation. This is normally grass and is regularly mowed by our Parks team. Use this link to submit a request for mowing on City property.
  • If the drainage easement is on private property, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the vegetation, including weeds, trees and overgrown vegetation. We recommend property owners plant grass over and around a drainage easement for easy maintenance and clear access.
  • If vegetation is blocking the flow of stormwater, the City may undertake works to protect other landowners, however depending on who has caused the blockage, the City may seek costs for these works from the landowner.

Where an open drain or retarding basin exists on private property, owners must keep the drainage system clear of obstructions (e.g. shrubs, trees, debris) to ensure water can flow freely in rain events. It is common for water to pond in and scour open drainage systems after a rain event – The City is not responsible for preventing this. We recommend grass and regular mowing for open drains and retarding basins.

If we have undertaken vegetation maintenance previously, we are not obligated do so again. For example, we may clear a drain if it is causing an issue with our assets (e.g. a road) but it does not mean we will maintain it regularly.

Property owners:

  • Can undertake vegetation work in a drainage easement area to improve amenity or ease maintenance but must first contact us for approval (except for mowing grass). We will need to consider the request and drainage system’s ability to function (i.e. location, catchment, drainage system, existing infrastructure, environmental matters, planning matters, etc.). A reasonable request is likely to be approved (e.g. cleaning out or tidying up a drainage easement).
  • May install fences across drainage easements, subject to our consent. Use this link to read about building over a drainage easement. Please contact our Building Services team on 5272 5272 if you have any queries.
  • Cannot build any structures on or over a drainage easement without our consent. Please contact our Building Services team on 5272 5272 if you have any queries.


Private property drainage assets

The City is not responsible for private stormwater infrastructure.

Property owners are responsible for their stormwater system operations and maintenance, up to and including their legal point of discharge (LPOD), which may be outside their property (e.g. kerb connection).

We do not hold information on the location of stormwater systems on private property. Plumbers are not required to inform us about the location of private drains when they install them.



Some areas within our municipality are at risk of flooding. Flood studies continue to be carried out on our major water courses to determine the likely extent of flooding in the event of a severe storm.

While general flooding enquiries may be made by contacting our Customer Service team, specific information relating to individual properties cannot be provided in this way. This is because flooding may affect adjoining properties quite differently. For example, there are several blocks of units within the City of Greater Geelong where only one unit is subject to flooding.

To apply for flooding information for a specific property, please submit a building information request to our Building Services team. A copy of the property title (including a plan showing the location of the property) and a signed Plan of Subdivision (including all pages) must be submitted with an application.


Soakage on site

Some locations within our region are suitable for soakage systems on site, however, this must be approved the City. Please contact us to discuss your proposal.


Erosion problems

Please use this link to report erosion issues within the City’s reserves.

Erosion issues arising from water main or sewer main leaks must be reported to Barwon Water.


Page last updated: Thursday, 8 February 2024