building & development
Stormwater Drainage and Water Tanks
building & development
Stormwater Drainage and Water Tanks
Council's obligations and responsibilities regarding stormwater drainage and water tanks.
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Stormwater Drainage

The disposal of stormwater is the responsibility of the property owner. Municipal Councils are responsible for the kerb and channel and barrel drains, while building owners are responsible to connect the drainage from their buildings to these Council assets for disposal (or managed disposal where there are no available Council assets).

Council Role

Under the Local Government Act council has the power to instigate a drainage scheme or require an owner to perform drainage work.

Where building permits contain a layout or design of stormwater drainage or discharge system, an application to the Council regarding the location of a point for stormwater discharge is required.

The Council may make recommendation relating to the design of the drainage system where no discharge point is available.

Where applicable, the Planning Permit may sometimes set out construction requirements or a maximum discharge rate into the stormwater system.

Drainage outside the Allotment

Council may carry out at the owner’s expense or direct the owner to connect the point of discharge to its drainage system in a specified manner or arrange for the connection.

Alterations and Additions to an Existing Building

Where minor works are carried out to an existing building, point of discharge will only be required where the extent of the work may impact on the performance of the existing drainage system.

Easement with adjoining property

Under the Water Act 1989, an owner can obtain drainage rights in writing from an adjoining owner allowing for placement of a drain through an adjoining property in the absence of a drainage easement.

Water Tanks

East Gippsland Shire Council has no official policy on rain water tanks and recommends that people be environmentally conscience. There are matters regarding siting, planning, health and building requirements that may be relevant in your case for use and placement of water tanks.

  • The tank should not be used for drinking water unless design and installation is approved by the relevant water authority. This is due to a variety of possible problems, including contamination from roof coverings or trees, residue, sealing in the system and vermin.
  • Water tanks need to be sealed to prevent mosquitoes and vermin from entering the tank and also the possibility of small children gaining access.
  • Rain water tank must not be connected to the town water supply as the possible back flow could contaminate the supply to your property and that of other users. Hoses left in a tank may siphon water back into the water mains or onto the ground.
  • It is advisable that an appropriate system be installed to exclude an initial quantity of rain water to catch and divert contaminates such as leaves, atmospheric pollution deposits, animal droppings, etc. Example: Rainhead with leaf shedding filter.


A Planning Permit is not required for a rain water tank less than 4500 ltrs where a dwelling exists on the land.

You should check your title, contract of sale, and councils Planning Department for any restrictions that may be relevant. This is advisable in particular with regard to recent subdivided estates where tanks are mandatory, recommended for ecological and environmental reasons or limited in there location. A planning permit may be required for rain water tanks with a capacity greater than 4500 ltrs or in rural areas where specified setbacks from boundaries are not met.


The following building requirements need to be considered in relation to water tanks;

  • The tank must be fitted with an overflow the same diameter as the inlet, and connected to the continuation of the storm water pipe. The overflow pipe must connect to the same discharge point as the residence, storm water drain, etc. this is important as water must not discharge onto neighboring properties.
  • A minimum setback of 500mm is required from side and rear boundaries (not street boundaries) for a tank up to 3000mm in height.
  • A minimum setback of 2000mm is required from a side or rear street boundary.
  • The water tank is above ground must comply with part 4 of the building Regulation. The minimum setback from the front street boundary is the average of the front street setbacks of the adjoining neighbours dwellings or 9m, whichever is the lesser. When on a rural block the tank must be shown on the approved planning permit plans.
  • The combined height of the tank and stand is not to exceed 3000mm above ground level within 1000mm of a side or rear boundary. For tanks greater than 3000mm in height please contact the Building Department on (03) 5153 9500.
  • A building permit may be required where the tank, stand and installation have a structural effect on the existing building or the tank is physically restrained by connection to the building for support i.e. tanks installed in roof area etc (this does not include down pipe connection and the restraint of the down pipe).
  • If the water tank is installed as part of other building works authorized by a building permit then tank details must be shown on the building permit documents.

If you have any further questions or are uncertain of your particular circumstances please contact either East Gippsland Shire Council or Gippsland Water.

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This page was last published on: 
Monday, December 21, 2020