If you have a spring on your land, this is normally your responsibility - this is know as a 'Riparian Ownership responsibility'.

Spring flows can increase in wet weather and stop completely during dry weather - but this can vary and the change could take some time depending on the groundwater and the geology of the land.

Unexplained groundwater

Leaking mains or sewers

Check the source is not a leaking water main or a faulty sewer. If this is the case, it may be the responsibility of Anglian Water, who manage supplies and sewers in the area, to investigate and repair it.


If the spring flow is due to natural ground water flow, then it is your responsibility.

You may need guidance from a specialist land drainage contractor and consent from our Flood team. 

The land owner doesn't have any legal rights or responsibilities to underground water - it's only when the water comes out the ground and flows in a channel that it is classed as a watercourse.

Dealing with problem springs

A basic solution may be to drain the water to an existing watercourse. Depending on the land, it may be possible to intercept the sub-surface flow with a French drain or land drain system (trenches dug and backfilled with gravel with deep collector pipes) connecting to existing ditches. Blue Pages may provide a solution.

Springs can't normally be drained into the public sewers, so you need to get permission from your sewerage company before you discharge anything to their drainage system.

It could be simpler to incorporate the spring as a feature on your land. A pond or small wetland area could create an excellent habitat for wildlife. 

In most cases there is nothing we or any other body can do. Ground water springs occur naturally and it is up to the property owner to decide how they wish to deal with the problem.


Traditionally, a land owner is under no obligation to prevent water that has come naturally onto the land from passing onto a neighbour's lower land - but the lower landowner is under no obligation to receive the water and can pen back the water.

But in modern times, it has been established that there is a general duty upon both landowners to do all that is reasonable to prevent or minimise the risk of foreseeable damage to the property of others.


If you need to speak to us about a land drainage issue or wish to report property flooding, please email [email protected].

Last updated 14 February 2024