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Questions about Drainage Laws

What is a drainage ditch?

A ditch is a type of small to moderate indention in the ground created to channel water. A drainage ditch is used to drain water from low lying areas and is normally found along side roadways or fields or is found in further away places to help irrigate crops. Drainage ditches are typically found near farmland that requires the drainage of water. Drainage ditches that are found roadside can cause driver issues in bad weather.

Should a person direct their issues with a drainage ditch with the HOA of a subdivision if the drainage ditch drains into their back yard?

The person should contact the county first since the roads in most places are owned and maintained by the county. If the HOA (Home Owners Association) owns/maintains the roadways then the person would go to the HOA and tell them of the issues with the drainage ditch. If the county owns the road the person can sue the owner of the property whom the drainage ditch drains from to seek the remedy of the issue and if it is the HOA that is responsible, then the person can sue the HOA for a nuisance and have them pay damages or to fix the issue.

If two homeowners use a concrete drainage ditch, can the drainage ditch be removed by the property owner and where can a person find out if there is an owned easement?

If the drainage ditch is on an easement, then it cannot be removed without the permission of the property owner’s that has benefit of the easement. To find out who owns the easement, the person can go to the county recorder of deeds and find out who owns the easement and who needs to give permission for the drainage ditch to be removed.

If a person has an issue with a building draining water onto the person’s property causing damage in the person’s home, what should the person do to get the drainage issue resolved and damages taken care of?

The person would need to seek an engineering study to be done to find out where the drainage water is coming from. If the person can prove that the water is coming from the building, then he/she can seek damages and repair costs from the building owners to fix the issues caused by the drainage issues. The person can also sue for any negligence that is involved for any injuries that happen due to the water drainage.

If there is question as to who owns a property or easement that a drainage ditch is located on, can anyone do anything to the drainage ditch?

Someone has to own the property and if the property owner can be found, then it comes into questions as to who owns the easement. The person who owns the easement is the only person who can make repairs, or be responsible for the damages caused by the drainage on the easement. If the property owner also owns the easement then the property owner is the one whom is responsible for the upkeep and the issues with the drainage.

Water drainage is very important to land owners and residents. When there are questions regarding the drainage laws or how to deal with an issue regarding drainage, then consulting an Expert can help resolve any issues regarding drainage.
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