grass roots community organisation that aims to improve natural condition of the derwent catchment

Your Responsibility As A Land Holder

Your responsibility as a landowner…

  1. Seek advice from local Council land management officers
  2. Know your land and who your neighbours are
  3. Never use heavy machinery in waterways 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 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 (StateGovernment) may also be landowners near you. Visit for more information.

You must submit a development application to local 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 orproperty (placing sandbags, removing debris during flooding), you should still obtain written approval from the Council.

When cleaning up after a flood remember:

  • Seek advice from your local 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. Ensure you have Council approval if you intend to do any major woks on a waterway.

If you would like any technical advice about river recovery/revegetation/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.