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Disputes over Water


The issue that may arise around water in neighbourhood disputes may include:

  • A flow of water which is deliberate; 
  • An ongoing activity which causes nuisance such as a garden sprinkler, changes to the watercourse of rivers or streams, and overflowing drains; 
  • The careless construction of tanks and/or dams which are caused by negligence, and damage results; 
  • Water storage on one person’s property which bursts and damages another’s property even if it is not the result of the neighbour’s carelessness, such as a burst swimming pool. 


If any of the above occurs, you as the occupier may have a right to legal action for compensation. However it will all depend on the circumstance, which is why it is highly important to seek legal advice.


Legal action is possible for:

  • Deliberate acts that cause direct or indirect damage as a result of the neighbours activity
  • Ongoing activity that can be categorised as ‘nuisance’
  • Negligence of the neighbour


Sometimes the entry of water is permitted, such as in the case of drainage easements that allow water to drain from one property to or over another. In special circumstances, you can make an application to the Supreme Court or the Land and Environment Court to obtain an easement. Of course, the application process is complicated and legal advice should be sought beforehand. A drainage easement can only be terminated with the agreement of the owners of the affected properties.


In the case of shared waterways such as lakes or streams, a person can lodge a complaint with the appropriate local council or the Department of Environment and Climate Change if they feel that the waterway is being polluted.


Also, an individual must seek the permission of the property owner if they wish to gain access to pipes that require repairs. Such an application must be made under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000.


If you need more information or assistance with dealing with a neighbourhood dispute involving water. Complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.