What are drainage easements?

 Drainage Easement

A drainage easement or Drainage Right of Way (R/W) is a legal agreement between a landowner and the County of Grande Prairie that protects the drainage infrastructure on a piece of private property.

A drainage easement is usually placed on a lot during the subdivision design process and is registered on the lot’s land title.

The drainage easement covers an area of the property that is part of the neighbourhood’s overall stormwater drainage system. They are designed to direct the flow of water in order to manage rain runoff.

Obstructing the drainage easement by changing the grading or placing a structure on it can impede the function of the stormwater management system. This can create issues, such as the pooling of rainwater in an unintended area.


Landowner & Resident Responsibilities

 Land owner responsibility

A landowner’s or resident’s responsibility is to keep the drainage easement area free from obstruction. Controlling vegetation by mowing the area, ensuring that there isn’t a build up of soil and rocks that could obstruct the flow of drainage within the easement, and taking care of detention basins or swales to prevent water accumulation all help to keep the drainage of your lot and your neighbour’s lot free flowing.


Can I build a structure in a drainage easement?

It’s a landowner’s or resident’s responsibility to keep the easement free from obstruction.  Placing structures and landscaping features, like retaining walls or planter boxes or beds, is not permitted. Building an accessory structure on an easement can be challenging in that the structure’ may impede the flow of water from the lot. It may also make it difficult for local authorities to access the easement if major maintenance needs to be performed.

* Anytime you build or place a structure, you must consult the County’s Planning and Development Services Department to ensure you are in compliance with your Easement Agreement and the County’s Land Use Bylaw.


What happens if I do not follow my Easement Agreement?

Non Compliance

A drainage easement is meant to protect drainage infrastructure on your property as well as the drainage system of the entire neighborhood. The County works to ensure the drainage system works as it was designed.

Failure to adhere to your Easement Agreement could lead to mandatory removal of structures or landscaping features that may impede the function of the drainage system. If necessary, the County may need to enter the property to remove obstructions from the drainage easement at the landowner’s expense.