Property owners wanting information about water, sewerage and storm water need to know what plumbing zone they are in because associated services and facilities are part-managed by TasWater.
Contact TasWater if:
- water and sewer issues are outside a property boundary;
- stormwater issues that are outside the boundary of a property in a combined plumbing zone.
Contact our Infrastructure Department if:
- you believe your property is in a combined plumbing zone;
- stormwater issues that are outside the boundary of a property in an area other than the combined plumbing zone.
In urban areas, stormwater from private property travels to the public network through a stormwater connection. Some stormwater flows directly to the underground infrastructure and in other locations to kerb. In older parts of Launceston the sewage and stormwater travel within the same pipe network, called the combined drainage system.
Apply for a stormwater connection
Property owners are responsible for maintenance of stormwater connections to their boundary. Outside of the property boundary the City of Launceston or TasWater are responsible for maintenance depending on your location.
Parts of West Launceston, South Launceston, Newstead, East Launceston, Launceston City, Invermay and Mowbray have a combined drainage system. If you are located in these suburbs please visit our mapping platform to understand if you are in the combined drainage area and if so, refer any stormwater connection queries to TasWater.
If you are outside of the combined drainage area and experiencing issues with your stormwater connection outside of your property boundary, please contact us.
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is a term used to describe rainwater runoff in urban areas. Stormwater generally starts as rain falling on hard stand areas such as roofs, driveways, roads, car parks and road pavements.
Some rain water soaks into the ground, evaporates or is captured by rainwater tanks but most of it ends up in stormwater drains which flow directly into our natural waterways.
Launceston's stormwater network contains over 438 kms of pipes, 6479 manholes, various sewer and stormwater pump stations, as well as urban waterways such Kings Meadows Rivulet. A map of the stormwater network is available on our mapping platform.
Much of Launceston's drainage system is out of site under properties and parklands. Some areas, such as overland flow paths and detention basins, are designed to flood.
Why can stormwater be a problem?
Stormwater becomes a problem when it causes flooding and erosion, or when it collects debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants as it flows.
Stormwater flooding can also be called overland flow. Overland flow can be generalised as water that is flowing down to a water course, such as a creek or river.
Usually the network of pits and pipes collects this water at low points in the streets and transports it underground to the natural waterways. However, at times the pipe network may be not be able to take all of the water, resulting in overland flow through properties. This can occur quickly resulting in flash flooding.
Stormwater pollutants can be harmful to aquatic organisms and ourselves, and can generally impact on the health and natural beauty of our waterways.
Pollutants such as oil, grease, fuels, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, detergents, chemicals, litter and heavy metals which aren’t naturally found in our waterways can be toxic and dangerous even in small amounts.
Other pollutants like soils, nutrients from organic wastes (lawn clippings, leaves) and bacteria (animal droppings) are naturally found in waterways, but are now present in such large amounts that they too can be harmful.
What can you do about stormwater flooding?
- Know your stormwater/overland flow flood risk - review Council's flood mapping to understand how your property may be affected by stormwater flooding. See our Urban (Stormwater) Flooding page for more information.
- Plan - develop an appropriate flood plan based on your flood risk.
- Flood proof your property -
- Store items off the floor under houses, sheds and in garages etc;
- Consider property modifications using flood resilient construction methods to reduce impacts.
- If it's flooded… forget it - do not enter floodwaters, even in your vehicle as you could be swept away. Only a small amount of water is necessary for a vehicle to be swept away. Floodwaters are also full of pollutants and a health concern.
- Reduce your impact on the stormwater system -better manage your stormwater at home, visit the NRM North website for tips.
- Improve the quality of stormwater at home;
- Reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff at home by increasing the area of porous surfaces (e.g. garden beds, lawn).
- Ensure your property is compliant - stormwater pipes, gutters, pits and any other components of the stormwater systems on private property must be in good condition and comply with requirements.
- Report Issues - if you see a problem that requires attention, report it
What is Council doing about stormwater?
The Stormwater System Management Plan outlines the plan for management of the stormwater system within the urban areas of the City of Launceston, as required under the Urban Drainage Act 2013.
This documents City of Launceston operational procedures and combines the results of detailed stormwater flood modelling and water quality and aquatic health information with best practice guidelines to identify a range of actions and projects. These will be implemented to better improve stormwater system management across the City of Launceston.
Existing actions and future projects include:
- Scheduled maintenance - including street cleaning, pipe, pit, gross pollutant trap, pump station and stormwater detention basin inspections and maintenance;
- Reactive investigations - as issues arise, actioned under the City of Launceston customer service charter;
- Waterway management - ongoing management and monitoring of Council's urban waterways, including Kings Meadows Rivulet and Newnham Creek;
- Development control and land use planning - management of stormwater quantity and quality through development controls and land use planning; and
- Targeted projects - projects to reduce flood risk and/or water quality and aquatic health impacts. Projects are undertaken at a neighbourhood level and prioritised according to severity.
The City of Launceston has used computer modelling to develop an urban (stormwater) flooding map. The map shows the 1% AEP flood event, flooding that has a 1% chance of happening each year.
Download the map online here
Display options include:
- the flood extent (the area that is modelled to be wet);
- the flood depth within this area;
- the flood hazard (combination of depth and velocity) within the area.
Flood hazard relates depth and velocity gives an indication of the potential impact of the flood waters. It can be used to inform emergency and flood risk management, as well as strategic and development planning.
It is recommended that you review the mapping to understand how your property may be affected by stormwater flooding and develop an appropriate flood plan based on your flood risk. Urban (Stormwater) flooding may occur quickly, and as such preparedness is the best mitigation method. It is important to avoid stormwater flooding where possible. View more about stormwater safety here.
Please note: the maps are produced from computer models. The models are based on the best data available to Council at the time the models were developed. The maps are indicative only of possible flood extents, if the data and assumptions on which they are based are reproduced in a future weather event.
Image: Flood Hazard Categories
Everyone must take particular care when they are in the vicinity of the stormwater system as storm water drains, manholes, pits and grates pose a danger in both wet and dry weather.
The stormwater system criss-crosses the city taking rainwater away from our streets and homes, sending it to the ocean. The system is more than 438 kilometres long, which is approximately the distance from Launceston to Hobart and back.
Some sections of the stormwater drains are only a few metres long but others run for kilometres. They consist of pipes that narrow down, and expand back out. They have debris traps and deep pits with no ladders - and no means of escape.
When it is not raining they are homes to rats, snakes and spiders. When it rains, the pipes flow to full capacity, sucking in anything they can from bicycles to wheelie bins. The stormwater system is dangerous in the dry and can be deadly in the wet.
Manholes indicate a change in direction for pipes. Manhole covers weigh between 20 and 30 kilograms (the same weight as a large full suitcase). When really full, manhole covers can sometimes be lifted and thrown by the pressure of water below. That means a person wading through floodwater risks falling into an open manhole full of water. Then, when the water begins to subside, it can rush in like a whirlpool, sucking you in.
A grate is constructed of steel weighing between 80 and 110 kilograms (the same weight as a small motorbike). Do not lift stormwater grates or lids under any circumstances as these could cause serious injuries.
Stormwater systems have pits and debris traps which range from 1.2 to 3.6 metres long. The pits have no ladders and therefore no way to get out.
Fast moving stormwater
Flowing stormwater and hidden debris can easily knock a person over and sweep them away, possibly into storm water drains. It also has the potential to sweep cars of flooded causeways and roads. Never drive through flood water. Turn around and find a safer route.