Drainage law generally follows property law concepts that emphasize the rights of landowners. Landowners have certain rights and obligations pertaining to storm water runoff.
Drainage is natural occurrence due to storm water runoff. The amount of drainage is dependent upon a number of factors including the amount of rainfall in any given storm, the natural topography of land prior to development, the post-development topography (defined as any changes to the land upstream and on occasionally, downstream of a property including re-contouring of topography, additional impervious cover including concrete paving and roofs.
Land development activities can result in increased runoff due to an increase in storm water runoff as well as a diversion of storm waters which, by its very definition is commonly a violation of state and potentially, local regulations.
Liability for any resulting damages may and should lie with those responsible for increasing or diverting storm water runoff.
Storm water regulations have been implemented at the state and local levels in an attempt to control and limit the potential for land development activities causing damage to the property of others.
Overflow Caused by Diversion of Water
(a) No person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in this state, or permit a diversion or impounding by him to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded.
(b) A person whose property is injured by an overflow of water caused by an unlawful diversion or impounding has remedies at law and in equity and may recover damages occasioned by the overflow.
(c) The prohibition of Subsection (a) of this section does not in any way affect the construction and maintenance of levees and other improvements to control floods, overflows, and freshets in rivers, creeks, and streams or the construction of canals for conveying water for irrigation or other purposes authorized by this code. However, this subsection does not authorize any person to construct a canal, lateral canal, or ditch that obstructs a river, creek, bayou, gully, slough, ditch, or other well-defined natural drainage.