Understanding who has responsibility for drainage assets is key to ensuring that they can be properly maintained. Water and sewerage companies for example only have legal powers to maintain assets which are defined as “sewers”. Assets which are not sewers are likely to be the responsibility of the landowner whose land is crossed by the pipe, culvert or other asset.
Despite extensive mapping of drainage assets, errors can occur with sewers classified as watercourses and vice versa. These errors can cause uncertainty and delay in resolving problems which arise with such assets.
In conjunction with a wide range of interested parties, Water UK has developed a protocol in order to avoid disputes in cases where the correct classification of an asset is unclear. It is available here.
Water and sewerage companies will be reviewing their processes so that they can comply with the protocol with effect from 1 February 2019.
The protocol will be reviewed after being in operation for two years.