Last updated 19 July 2016

Water naturally flows downhill, and rainwater may over the course of time carve out particular patterns of flow. Sometimes people alter water flow by altering the natural lie of the land or by installing devices to direct rainwater. Laying concrete, planting gardens and building retaining walls all have the potential to alter the flow of water from one property to another.

Normally, a downhill neighbour cannot hold an uphill neighbour responsible for water flowing onto their land after rain, if the uphill neighbour has not altered the lie of the land or taken any action to direct (or release) the flow of water. However, if the uphill neighbour has altered the land or redirected the flow of water, and the alterations have caused a negative impact on the downhill neighbour, the adversely affected neighbour may be able to take a nuisance action in relation to the water nuisance.