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We recently bought a rural property and after settlement a

hi we recently bought a...
hi we recently bought a rural property and after settlement a neighbour cut a small culvert through an artificial bank on his land to drain surface water that is accumulating in one of his paddocks... he says he is re-establishing the natural flow of the water. what should we do?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: upper hutt
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: not yet, we're hoping to resolve this between ourselves first
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: don't think so
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/20/2017
Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,166
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Hi

I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today

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If someone has collected water on their land, they cannot just arbitrarily release it onto your land. If this is causing damage, then under some quite old law under a principle established in a case called Rylands v Fletcher, they are liable for the damage. It can depend on the amount of the water, but there may also be a resource consent needed to release the water by cutting through the culvert. It may pay to make some enquiry from the Council to see what resource consents exist (if any). But I would encourage you to try and resolve with the neighbour – the very unusually heavy rainfall this year may have made this a problem this year but not necessarily a problem looking forward

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Customer reply replied 29 days ago
ok, so just to confirm, his argument of re-establishing the natural flow of the water on his land doesn't hold up?
I know he doesn't have consents to discharge water.
there isn't really damage at this point, but we will be building soon and the water run off is running across where we will be building, so definitely wasn't to keep it amicable, but make it clear this cannot happen in the future.
will we be breaking any regulations or laws if we block the water (not re-direct it etc, just literally build the soul back up to stop it running down)?

He can't just restore the flow as you observe. But obviously it will be a problem looking forward, so you will need to restore the bank and explain that it will be a problem with your building site. But it may be best to work with them on a joint drainage solution

Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,166
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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