Torbay Council

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 Torbay Council as Lead Local Flood Authority for Torbay are responsible for managing the following types of flooding:

Surface water runoff

"Surface runoff" means rainwater (including snow and other precipitation) which

(a) is on the surface of the ground (whether or not it is moving), and

(b) has not entered a watercourse, drainage system or public sewer

Flood and Water Management Act 2010

Ordinary watercourse

“watercourse” includes all rivers and streams and all ditches, drains, cuts, culverts, dikes, sluices, sewers (other than public sewers within the meaning of the Water Industry Act 1991) and passages, through which water flows.

Land Drainage Act 1991

An "Ordinary Watercourse" is defined as a watercourse that does not form part of a "Main River".

Flood and Water Management Act 2010


“Groundwater” means all water which is below the surface of the ground and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil

Flood and Water Management Act 2010

Environment Agency Opens in a new window

The Environment Agency was established in 1995 by the Environment Act. They are an Executive Non-departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. They have a strategic overview of all sources of flooding and coastal erosion (as defined in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010). They are also responsible for flood and coastal erosion risk management activities on main rivers and the coast, regulating reservoir safety, and working in partnership with the Met Office to provide flood forecasts and warnings. They must also look for opportunities to maintain and improve the environment for people and wildlife while carrying out all of their duties.

South West Water Opens in a new window

South West Water came into being in 1989 with the privatisation of the water industry. As the region's sewerage undertaker, South West Water is responsible for public sewers which carry waste water from homes and businesses for treatment. South West Water has certain responsibilities to protect properties from being flooded internally by waste water escaping from a public sewer. The industry regulator Ofwat expects the sewerage undertakers to provide sufficient capacity to ensure a property is not flooded during storms which occur on average more than once every 10 years.

Riparian Landowners

If you own land adjoining, above or with a watercourse running through it, you have certain rights and responsibilities. In legal terms you are a ‘riparian owner’. Your rights as a riparian landowner have been established in common law for many years, but they may be affected by other laws.

More information about the your rights and responsibilities can be found in the following guide.

Download living on the edge
A guide to your rights and responsibilities of riverside ownership