What Is A Drainage Easement?

Are you curious to know what is a drainage easement? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a drainage easement in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a drainage easement?

In the realm of property ownership and land use, various legal arrangements exist to ensure the efficient management of resources and infrastructure. One such essential aspect is a drainage easement—a legal provision that facilitates the management and flow of water across properties. Let’s delve into the intricacies of drainage easements and their significance in property ownership.

What Is A Drainage Easement?

A drainage easement is a legal right granted to a party, typically a municipality, utility company, or property owner, allowing them the specific use of a portion of land for the purpose of managing stormwater runoff, drainage systems, or water flow. This easement provides authorized individuals or entities the legal right to access, construct, maintain, or utilize drainage infrastructure on a particular property.

Purpose And Importance

  • Stormwater Management: Drainage easements are crucial for managing stormwater runoff, preventing flooding, and directing water away from properties, roads, and structures during heavy rainfall or adverse weather conditions.
  • Utility Access: Utility companies often utilize drainage easements to install, access, or maintain pipelines, culverts, or other drainage-related infrastructure essential for water management.
  • Preserving Functionality: By designating specific areas for drainage purposes, easements ensure that the intended functionality of drainage systems remains unobstructed, allowing for the efficient flow of water.

Characteristics And Considerations

  • Location and Size: Drainage easements can vary in size and location, depending on the specific needs of the drainage system and local regulations. They may encompass swales, channels, or designated areas necessary for effective water flow.
  • Access and Restrictions: Property owners should be aware that while they retain ownership of the land, the presence of a drainage easement grants authorized parties the right to access and maintain the area for drainage purposes. This might include limitations on construction or alterations that could hinder drainage systems.
  • Legal Implications: Drainage easements are legally binding agreements recorded in property deeds or public records, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both the property owner and the party granted the easement.

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Impact On Property Owners

For property owners, understanding the presence and implications of a drainage easement is crucial:

  • Property Usage: Easements may restrict certain uses or constructions within the designated area to ensure proper drainage functionality.
  • Maintenance Responsibility: While the entity with the easement rights is responsible for upkeep and repairs related to drainage infrastructure, property owners must not obstruct or interfere with the drainage system.


Drainage easements serve as vital mechanisms in managing water flow, preventing flooding, and preserving the functionality of drainage systems. They are integral in maintaining the integrity of properties and infrastructure while safeguarding against water-related issues.

Understanding the presence and implications of drainage easements is essential for property owners, ensuring compliance with legal obligations and contributing to effective water management within communities.


What Is A Drainage Easement Next To A House?

A drainage easement is a legal encumbrance on the title of a property to provide Council with the authority to carry out whatever works are required on drainage infrastructure within the easement.

Can You Build Next To A Drainage Easement?

For example, building a fence along a drainage easement may catch debris or prevent the flow of water, and will likely be prohibited. Other easements may prevent the owner from building an addition onto their home, planting gardens or trees, or adding a pool or hot tub.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Easements?

In short, an easement imposes a burden on another property owner and is an encumbrance on real property. The two most common types of property easements are an express easement and a prescriptive easement. Out of the two types of easements, an express easement is the most common type of easement.

Who Is Responsible For Maintaining A Drainage Easement In Pennsylvania?

As described to all individual locations, the described entity, Home Owner’s Associations or the Municipality maintains the drainage system and structures within the easement to allow for proper function of the system.

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