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Land drainage

Under most circumstances, landowners are legally responsible for any surface water drainage features on, or adjacent to, their land.  Such features can be natural watercourses, such as rivers and streams, or man-made features, such as ditches, drains, culverts (piped watercourses) and sluices etc. Any landowners with any such features on, or adjacent to, their land are legally defined as 'Riparian Landowners' under the Land Drainage Act 1991 (as amended); a definition that brings certain rights and responsibilities. For further information about any rights or responsibilities that you may have, please refer to the "Riparian Rights and Responsibilities" and "Riparian Responsibility Diagrams".

Landowners should also be aware that; under the Water Resources Act 1991, the Environment Agency also has a responsibility to maintain water flow and carry out flood defence works along any watercourses that have been specifically classified as a 'Main Rivers' or a 'Critical Ordinary Watercourses'.

Additionally, West Sussex County Council and the Highways Agency have responsibilities relating to the drainage of surface water from the public highway.