Runoff From Neighbor – OK to Dam?

Q: My neighbor has a bunch of gutter pipes that empty water near my property line. The water erodes around my flower beds. He refuses to do anything about it. Can I just build a dam to keep his water off my property?

A: It would be nice to have reasonable neighbors but that’s not always the case. I’m not a lawyer and am unqualified to give legal advice, but my understanding is that you can’t build a dam….you have to sue your neighbor for damages to your property. Otherwise, if your dam caused water to backup into his basement, he could sue you for damages.

I found a review of water rights in the Southeast and even though it is not very recent it gives an overview of the law as it was in 1961.

Some Principles of Water Law in the Southeast

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