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					                                               When first confronted with a drainage or    WHAT CAN I DO IF MY NEIGHBORS
        DRAINAGE                               potential flooding issue, the tendency of      DIVERT OR MODIFY THEIR
                                               some individuals is to look to someone      PROPERTY AND CAUSE FLOODING
The issues associated with the flow of         else to be responsible. An individual             ON MY PROPERTY?
surface water drainage are not always          may call the Watershed Protection
simple. In Southern California where we        District (WPD, formerly Flood Control),
                                               but will be advised that the WPD’s          This is really a civil issue between you
enjoy mild weather the majority of the                                                     and your neighbor. The first suggestion
time, there is a tendency to ignore            responsibility is only the maintenance of
                                               designated flood control facilities.        is to talk to your neighbor and try to
issues of storm drainage until significant                                                 resolve the issues. If this fails you may
storm events occur and either private          The next step may be to call the            have to engage legal counsel and/or a
property or public facilities are imperiled.   Transportation Department. Hostility is     civil engineer to protect your property
                                               sometimes incurred when the property        rights. Unless grading is done that
The basic drainage rule applicable in          owner or individual is informed that the    violates Chapter 33 of the County
California is that every landowner must        problem is a private property issue. The    Building Code, Ordinance No. 4273, the
bear the burden of receiving on his land       County cannot spend money from the          County has no authority or jurisdiction to
the surface water naturally falling from       County Road Fund to resolve problems        resolve such civil matters. If you think a
the land above it and naturally flowing to     on private property for the exclusive       grading violation has occurred, please
it and the corresponding right to freely       benefit of one or two owners. Any           call: (805) 654-2030.
pass this water to lower lands.                improvements      paid    for   by    the
                                               Transportation     Department      would     MAY I DIVERT SURFACE WATERS
Each property owner’s duty is to leave         require a demonstrated benefit to the          ON TO THE COUNTY ROAD?
the natural flow of surface water              road system and/or the traveling public.
undisturbed. A landowner may not divert
or increase the drainage flow to the                                                       The simple answer is to know if your
injury of the lower owner. In simplistic           WHAT CAN I DO TO MINIMIZE               diversion damages the roadway.
terms this has been phrased “Water                  DAMAGE TO MY PRIVATE                   According to the California Streets and
flows as water will flow.” While simple in               PROPERTY?                         Highway Code §723, §726, and §1487,
context, the application of these                                                          any person who obstructs or injures
principles can be very complex legally,                                                    County roadway by draining water from
and advice from qualified legal counsel        The first suggestion is to investigate      his or her land onto the roadway is liable
is suggested for other than routine            thoroughly any potential drainage           for such damages. The property owners
issues.                                        problems before you purchase the            will be notified of the problem and
                                               property. The previous owner may have       informed that should they fail to remedy
                                               a responsibility to disclose any known      this situation immediately, the County
                                               drainage or flooding problems. Ask if       will cause the debris to be removed.
                                               there are any drainage or flowage           The     property    owners     may     be
                                               easements on the property. Look at the      responsible for any expense the County
                                               property carefully. If your driveway or     may incur in removing said debris or
                                               house is below street level, there is a     correcting the damage. In addition,
                                               strong possibility that water may flow      there may be liabilities for such
                                               from the street onto your property.         additional penalties prescribed by law.
 WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT MY                   storms without adversely impacting
 DRIVEWAY BECOMING FLOODED                   adjacent properties or County roadways.

                                               WHAT DOES THE COUNTY DO TO
This situation occurs because many             ADDRESS DRAINAGE PROBLEMS
driveways slope down from the edge of            BEFORE THE RAINS BEGIN?
the road to the house or business. This
may also occur if the culvert or drainpipe
under your driveway is too small for the     Each      year,     the    Transportation
existing flow. To address the problem, it    Department’s maintenance staff performs
may be necessary to install a pipe to        routine maintenance to make sure that
carry the water under the driveway or        when it rains, water drains properly from
deflect the water away from your             the roadway systems so that flooding
driveway. The maintenance of your            does not impact the travel lanes.
driveway, including any drainage pipe or     However, in heavy rainstorms, the
culvert under the driveway is your           existing drainage systems may become
responsibility as the private property       overtaxed. If you see a blocked culvert or
owner. For work in the road right-of-way,    drainage inlet, please contact the road
an encroachment permit from the              maintenance staff at (805) 672-2131 to
Transportation Department will be            report the problem.
required, and we recommend you have
the work done by a licensed private          It should be noted that there are many
contractor.                                  areas of the County where there are no
                                             existing drainage facilities. Several of
                                             these areas are low, and in some cases
                                             below the historical flood plain. Ponding
                                             or even flooding may be unavoidable in
                                             such areas during heavy storm events.

                                                   REQUESTS AND INQUIRIES
Whenever a new development project
increases the storm water discharge
above the existing flow rates for the        If you have questions, requests, or
property, developers are required to         suggestions, please call Department
control the drainage on their properties     at: or through the “Contact Us” link
to current flow rates.                       at:    Rev. 2/21/08
Otherwise, documentation must be
provided demonstrating that drainage
from their property can be adequately
handled during 10, 50, and 100-year

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