If you own land adjoining a watercourse, you have certain rights and responsibilities. In legal terms you are a 'riparian owner'. (A watercourse is any natural or artificial channel through which water flows, such as a river, brook, beck, or mill stream.)
Some of your responsibilities include:
Your rights have been established in common law for many years. However there are some circumstances in which these rights may be affected by other law.
There are also activities for which you will need permission from a third party - such as your local authority or the Environment Agency. These can include bank protection works and the construction of culverts, bridges or outfalls to the watercourse.
The riparian owner is usually the owner of roadside ditches. Even if a ditch is outside of the property boundary ownership is remains with the adjacent landowner as riparian owner. It does not make any difference that the road drains into the ditch/watercourse.
There are exceptions to this rule which are when the Highway Authority has specifically constructed and maintained the ditch.
You are responsible for private sewers and these should be shown in your property deeds.
You are also responsible for the sewer that connects your property to the public sewer.
Hampshire County Council is responsible for culverts and most of the bridges over watercourses and rivers associated with the highway. There are exceptions where bridges are privately owned such as those managed by British Waterways.