Watercourse maintenance responsibilities

Well maintained watercourses, e.g. brooks, streams, ditches and culverted watercourses, reduce the risk of flooding.

The council provides advice to land owners with watercourses on the land (known as Riparian Owners) on keeping channels and culverts clear in order to prevent problems such as disputes or legal action via a service level agreement with Warwickshire County Council. Where more than one land owner may be concerned, they will liaise between all parties to achieve the best result


Owners should keep their watercourses free of rubbish, garden refuse and any other debris. Watercourses should be kept clear of excessive undergrowth, trees and tree roots, etc. growing within the channel. Materials arising from clearance work should be deposited clear of the watercourse to avoid re-entry.

A neglected watercourses and/or culvert could result in action being taken under the Land Drainage Act 1991 and may also potentially expose the owner to liability for the cost of any damage caused by flooding.

Bank erosion is a naturally occurring gradual process. Severe erosion can cause unwanted widening of the watercourse channel, collapsing banks and undermining of property. The process of erosion can be reduced by various methods of bank stabilisation. Any works should be discussed with the Environment Agency or the council contractor who acts on behalf of the council in these matters. Email: FRMplanning@Warwickshire.gov.uk quoting reference: SLA WDC.

Culverts/Culverted Watercourses

Many flooding problems are caused by blockages within the pipeline or at the inlet from a watercourse. A fault occurring in the culvert will normally be the land owner's responsibility to rectify.

Blockages can be minimised by the regular inspection and removal of debris. Culvert inlets are often provided with protective grills intended to prevent debris entering the pipeline and causing blockages. Regular inspection and clearance of grills is important, particularly during heavy rainfall, when loose debris can accumulate very quickly.