Pumping stagnant water onto public land

As flood water drops, you may notice some water left in low lying or flat areas of your property.

Stagnant water will eventually evaporate or flow into waterways. Sometimes this can be the only option while floodwaters continue to recede.

In some instances, stagnant water can create access problems or affect business operations for individual properties.

There may be some options for you to safely remove sitting water from your property but it’s important to check first with the manager or authority responsible for the land or channel likely to be affected.

This is to avoid any potential effects on others downstream or avoid fines.

Who to contact?

There are many different managers of public land in Victoria. Most public land is managed by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) or Parks Victoria. You should contact the relevant local office to discuss options for discharging residual water from your property. If you do not have contact details for the public land manager you need to speak to, please contact:

Before moving stagnant water

Before permission is given to release stagnant water onto public land, the following will need to be considered:

  • Any built assets, road access, trails and community or recreational facilities.
  • The potential impacts on;
    • flora, fauna and habitats
    • any Aboriginal or cultural heritage sites
    • ground conditions that may cause erosion.
  • The amount of water to be pumped and the risk of more flooding.
  • The quality of the stagnant water and if it contains harmful contaminates.

What to know before you pump or release stagnant water safely

Any permission will be limited to a specific time frame, risk or harm to the environment or potential damage to property. The landowner will be responsible for safely managing the operation.

Pumping or releasing stagnant water onto public land without permission is an offence.

Different rules apply for releasing flood water onto public land, drains, irrigation channels and waterways.

Avoid any penalties by checking with the land manager first.


This advice available for download as a word document- Public land guidance note- Pumping Stagnant Water

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