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The rain that runs on the surface of the land and then runs into the drains is storm water. That storm water then collects in the storm water drainage system that the council looks after. The water then runs off into waterways surrounding the area. When there are faulty drains this is a serious issue as it leads to flooding and property damage, but it also impacts the environment. Here is a look at who is responsible for storm water drains in QLD, how the drainage works and why maintaining the system is so important.

Understanding how the drainage for storm water works

When it rains the water that runs from building’s roofs and the ground collects into the storm water drains. These connect to a large drainage system that is designed, installed and maintained by the local council. There are three sections to the system, the roof, the surface and the subsoil. The storm water drain system has several points of discharges soakage or rubble pits, channels, kerbs and concrete slabs and storm water pits.

The storm water system is not the same as the sewage system. Sewage is water that is waste from homes and businesses and goes to a wastewater facility where they treat it. The storm water does not need treatment as it is just runoff rainwater. It discharges into local bodies of water. It is important that the storm water system is properly maintained and that problems are fixed promptly to prevent flooding. Ignoring issues is not a good idea considering the rain that can happen in QLD each year. Sever downpours often cause a spike in blocked drain calls for plumbers Gold Coast wide.

Who is responsible for storm water drains?

In Queensland, it is the property owners who are responsible for repairs and maintenance of any storm water drainage systems on the property. The local council takes care of all the storm water drains that are not on private properties. You can contact the Gold Coast council to report drainage issues on public land. Property owners are not to redirect the storm water drain say to another property, and they are not allowed to connect it to the sewage system.

What issues happen when the systems are not maintained?

It may be an inconvenience for a property owner who is responsible for storm water runoff but it is important to accept the responsibility, as poor maintenance can lead to a lot of problems. They include:

  • Flooding leading to damage to floors, timber frames, building materials, and roofing structures
  • Increased risk of pest infestations like termites
  • Blocked stormwater drains and pits that can accumulate in tree roots and cause backed-up water on the ground and in the streets
  • Water soaking through walls, getting into the basement, being around windows
  • In reactive clay soil too much water can lead to damage to buildings, the soil swells as the water content increases and causes cracks in walls, around windows and so on
  • Damp can cause mould too which is not good for your health

What should you do?

If you have storm water drains on your property and you wondered who is responsible for storm water runoff, then the answer is you. If you do not manage them it can cause serious problems for the environment and to your property. There are a few things you can do to prevent water damage from storms before they happen. A big one is to have the storm water drains cleaned once or twice a year by a professional service. The drain system can get easily clogged with debris and tree roots can be a problem too. With things like CCTV drain cameras, high-pressure jet rodders and robotic cutters they can find problems and fix them efficiently.You should also have the downpipes, roof and gutters repaired and inspected regularly to make sure they are not blocked, and that there are no leaks.


Whether you have a blocked pipe or drain, or something is broken or cracked with a storm water drain on the property you need to have someone you can call to fix it, unblock it and do regular inspections. By handling the repairs when they are smaller you can save money and stop more serious damage from happening.  Calling the council for a drain on your property is not going to get someone over. This is your responsibility, but a quick call to our 24-hour emergency plumbers and it’s taken care of promptly!

Get in touch if you need help to clear a drain blockage that just won’t budge. If you’re in Worongary, SouthportReedy Creek, Currumbin Waters, Parkwood or anywhere in the Gold Coast, you can call on us!