Grass-roots community organisation that aims to improve the natural condition of the Derwent catchment

Flood: your responsibility as a landholder

After a flood ...

If you own land with or adjacent to a waterway, it's your responsibility to keep in touch with your local council land management officers and seek their advice when you need it. Your neighbours will have similar responsibilities, so make sure you're each aware of what's going on in your stretch of the land.

Never use heavy machinery near a waterway without a permit!

After a flood, it helps to know what your legal responsibilities are during the recovery stage. Council staff are committed in their response to emergencies; however, they are only responsible for repairing or replacing assets on council land. This means that any assets on private land (such as bridges and roads) are the responsibility of the landowner – even where debris which may have been pushed onto your land from somewhere else.

This is why knowing your property boundaries and the assets on your land is very important. Some property boundaries end in the middle of the river! Crown Land Services (state government) may also own land near you. Visit for more information.

Major works

You must submit a development application to Council before doing any major works involving river systems. Discuss your proposal with a council planning officer to help identify how you can minimise environmental impact. In the case of emergency works near waterways to protect people or property (placing sandbags, removing debris during flooding), you should still obtain written approval from Council.

When cleaning up after a flood, remember:

  • Seek advice from Council and land management officers if you have queries about where your property starts and stops and how to go forward with flood recovery.
  • Talk to your neighbours, as the clean-up often requires a combined effort. It can also be cheaper if you work together.
  • Do not use machinery in rivers or change water flows, as what you do on your land could have consequences for those downstream.

If you would like any technical advice about river recovery, revegetation or weed control, or further information on how to increase health and resilience in your surrounding waterways, please contact the Derwent Catchment Project or 6286 3211.

Next – restoring land after a flood

Derwent Catchment Project

PO Box 22 Hamilton TAS 7140  |  Phone (03) 6286 3211  |