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Responsibilities of the riparian owner

In common law a riparian owner owns land adjoining a river or other watercourse and therefore has certain rights and responsibilities.

It is important that watercourses do not become overgrown and are kept free from debris. Watercourses have the capacity to carry significant volumes of water during flooding. If this capacity is reduced, the risk of flooding can increase.

Unless it is owned by somebody else, the law presumes you own the land up to the centre point of the watercourse. This means that you and your neighbouring land owner are responsible for the maintenance and water flow within the watercourse where it borders your land.

More information and examples of the responsibilities of riparian owners is given in our document about land drainage.

It is not our responsibility to carry out maintenance or improvement works in these situations.

PDF iconRiparian responsibilities examples759.67 KB

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