Riparian Ownership & Responsibilities

Are You a Riparian Owner?

If you own land alongside a watercourse, you are legally termed a riparian owner. Water courses can be a natural or artificial channel, such as a river, stream, ditch or culvert (an underground covered channel or pipe). As a riparian owner you have certain rights and have the responsibility for maintenance and clearance of these watercourses. If left unchecked, they can result in flooding issues in the surrounding area.

We recommend reading the following:

Riparian Ownership FAQs

Good Practice for Watercourse Management 

How do I know if I am a riparian owner

Unless otherwise shown on the Title Deeds, all of the land owners in this picture would normally be riparian owners up to the middle of the watercourse:

  • House A is responsible for the all of the watercourse running through their garden
  • House B is responsible for the watercourse behind the fence at the bottom of their garden
  • House C is responsible for the watercourse behind the fence AND the pond
  • House D is responsible for the culverted (piped) watercourse buried in the ditch in front of their land AND the underground pipe which runs beneath their property to the pond
  • House E is responsible for the open ditch in front of their house AND the piped section under their access bridge
  • House F is responsible for the watercourse at the end of their garden behind their hedge
  • Landowner G is responsible for both the watercourses running along the edges of their land AND the pond