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Stormwater drainage

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Stormwater drainage

Council owns and maintains a network of pipes and drains that form various stormwater drainage systems throughout our district.  There are also many kilometres of open drains, creeks and streams on private property that the landowner is responsible to maintain.

The drains Council owns and maintains are referred to as public drains.  Contact us if you want to know if the drain on your property or elsewhere is private or public.

Urban public stormwater drains

Council owns and maintains a public stormwater system to protect people and property from flooding.  The urban stormwater system covers Gisborne city including Wainui and Okitu and the following rural residential areas:

Hicks Bay Manutuke Matawai Patutahi
Ruatoria Tikitiki Te Araroa Te Karaka
Tokomaru Bay Tolaga Bay Te Puia Springs Whatatutu

In rural residential areas, the urban public stormwater system is mostly located between the 70km - 100km speed zone. The residential zone is also used to determine the urban/rural boundary.

How the drains work

The 'primary' urban stormwater system consists of around 140km of pipes with manholes, sumps and inlet/outlet structures. Also drains, swales, sumps, channels and detention areas.  The piped system is designed to cater for a 10-year storm event, or a 10% probability of this sized rain event occurring each year.

The ‘secondary’ stormwater system comes into action during significant heavy rain events. It consists of stormwater flow paths through reserves, private properties and alongside roads.  It's designed to cater for a 100-year storm event, or a 1% probability of this sized rain event occurring each year.

Maintenance of drains

Just over 22km of significant streams, creeks and drains in Gisborne city are maintained on a regular basis. Many other minor drains in Gisborne city and some townships are maintained on an ‘as required’ basis.

If you have a public drain on your property - don't damage, fill-in or interfere with the flow of water - contact us before you carry out any work.

Please contact us if you have any questions about the public stormwater system.

Rural land drainage

Council owns and maintains a network of open drains across private farmland and adjacent to some roads. A network of 330km of drains spanning 14 drainage schemes are maintained at the landowners request.

Can I add my drain to Council's network?

Yes, rural property owners can apply to get Council to maintain the drain.  Your neighbouring drain owners must also agree to join. Before the drain is added to the network, it may need to be upgraded to comply with our design standard.  Only when the drain complies with our standard, will Council take over responsibility to maintain it.  It would need to be a drain of strategic importance, generally serving multiple landowners. You and your neighbouring landowners would then be rated for the additional service.

Maintenance of drains - do's and don'ts

We spray public drains twice a year to keep weeds down. See information on spraying council drains

If you have a public drain on your property - do keep the weeds down so the water flows freely
Don't damage, fill-in or interfere with the flow of water - contact us before you carry out any work.

Roadside open drains on rural roads

Shallow roadside drains are watertable drains and in the winter months will have water in them. They are designed primarily to take the water off the road.

Maintenance of roadside drains

If a roadside drain is blocked and flooding the road, please contact us.

You need approval before you carry out work in the road reserve, such as constructing a driveway, or installing a culvert.  See information on work in a road reserve 

Roadside open drains on a state highway

Along state highway roads the roadside drains in the 70km - 100km speed zone areas are maintained by New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).  

In the rural areas NZTA’s primary responsibility is to ensure the roadside drains protect the road from flooding.

Private stormwater drains

Drains that are not owned and maintained by Council or NZTA are classed as private - the landowner is responsible for the drain's maintenance.  

Maintenance of private drains - do's and don'ts

If you have a private drain on your property - do keep the weeds down so the water flows freely.
Don't damage, fill-in or interfere with the flow of water - contact us before you carry out any work.

Stormwater run-off on your property

It's your responsibility to manage stormwater run-off on your property.

Stormwater run-off from your neighbour's property

Building work such as raising the ground level, increasing hard surface areas or blocking an overland flow path could increase the amount of stormwater flowing onto a neighbour’s property. It is your responsibility to manage stormwater falling naturally onto your property.

The best way to tackle a stormwater issue is to manage it as close to the source as possible, by reducing run-off and decreasing hard surface area.

Connecting to Council's stormwater system

You need a building consent to connect to Council's public stormwater drain.  See building consent information

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