Keeping drains and stormwater clear

The drainage network is a combination of pits, pipes, open channels and natural waterways that are continually developed, managed and maintained. Stormwater that runs through drains is carried into creeks, rivers and other catchments and eventually ends up in the ocean, which is why everyone must be take care to ensure our stormwater and drainage systems are as clean and clear as possible.

Problems with drainage

Drains in Cairns are inspected and cleaned to a regular schedule but we also rely on residents to let us know when they see a problem.

Please contact Council if you

  • see that a drain is blocked
  • are concerned about flooding after heavy rain and the water is not draining away
  • wish to report illegal dumping in drains.
To report drainage issues

Call Council on 1300 69 22 47 or make an online customer request.

Be sure to include the exact location in your report.

Help us minimise risks of flood inundation and drain dangers

  • Please dispose of green waste and household rubbish appropriately and responsibly. Invasive vegetation and illegal dumping can significantly restrict the capacity of drains. Dumping green waste and household rubbish in drains can also increase the risk of flooding to nearby properties.
  • Illegal dumping of green waste and household rubbish in waterways, easements and drains increases the risk of flooding to properties and costs millions of dollars in property damage across the region.
  • Don't risk entering creeks or drains to clear blockages - please contact Council to clear blockages.

Your responsibilities

  • Under the conditions attached to an easement on the land title deeds, a property owner must not obstruct the free flow of water along the drainage pathway. Dumping waste, planting garden beds or building fences across the flow path are all examples of activities that can obstruct stormwater flow.
  • Property owners should be aware that if a drainage easement is deliberately obstructed, they can be held liable for any damage caused to adjacent and neighbouring properties.

What we can, can’t and do remove from drains

  • Council receives more than 500 calls every year from residents requesting assistance with drainage problems
  • Unlined tidal drains can only be dredged and cleared of mangroves between April and October due to fish breeding seasons.
  • During and after periods of intense rainfall, work crews check 127 sites within central Cairns suburbs to make sure that grates are not blocked from debris being washed into the waterway systems from the surrounding hill slopes and properties.
  • There are 185 gross pollutant traps (GPTs) in waterways around the region that catch litter and debris before it reaches the ocean—each one requires regular cleaning.
  • Each month, about 20 to 30 shopping trolleys are retrieved from the central drainage system in Cairns.

To find out more about drainage and stormwater, download the Keep Waterways, Easements and Drains Clear Fact Sheet ( PDF, 0.21 MB ) below.

Illegal dumping of green waste and household rubbish in waterways, easements and drains increases the risk of flooding to properties and costs millions of dollars in property damage across the region.

Under the conditions attached to an easement on the land title deeds, a property owner must not obstruct the free flow of water along the drainage pathway. Dumping waste, planting garden beds or building fences across the flow path are all examples of activities that can obstruct stormwater flow.

Property owners should be aware that if a drainage easement is deliberately obstructed, they can be held liable for any damage caused to adjacent and neighbouring properties.

To find out more download the Keep Waterways, Easements and Drains Clear Fact Sheet ( PDF, 0.21 MB ) below.

Stormwater disposal

Stormwater is the run-off from rain that falls on a roof or paved area like a driveway, road or footpath. This water, which is not treated, flows into our stormwater drainage network.

Downpipes that collect water on private property usually belong to the property owner. Owners are responsible for their drains up to the point of connection to the Council drain or kerb and channel or to a drainage easement that runs through the property.

The Stormwater Disposal Fact Sheet ( PDF, 1.1 MB ) provides advice to help residents be aware of, and proactive about, stormwater drainage systems and surface water requirements or procedures on their property. If all residents are fully prepared ahead of major rain events, it will make us, as a region, better equipped to cope.

Shopping trolleys

Trolleys taken outside of shopping precincts are considered litter. Trollleys dumped illegally in bushland, creeks, drains and waterways can cause a build-up of debris. This restricts water flow and creates an environmental hazard during heavy rainfall.

If you find a trolley that isn't where it belongs, report it for collection to:

  • Trolley Tracker: The service is provided for Woolworths, BIG W, Dan Murphy's and Target. Report abandoned shopping trolleys online at the Trolley Tracker website, email info@trolleytracker.com.au or free call 1800 641 497. You can also download the Trolley Tracker reporting app for your mobile phone.
  • 1800Trolley: Coles supermarket trolleys (and Target, Kmart, First Choice and Bunnings) can be reported by calling 1800 TROLLEY (1800 876 553), email 1800Trolley@coles.com.au or download the Coles Trolley Collect mobile phone app. You can use your phone's GPS to note the location of the trolley or enter an address and you also have the option to add a photo. Trolleys are collected within 24 hours.
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EVENTS, NEWS & REMINDERS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DEVICE
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Last updated: 06 January 2021