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What is a Watercourse?

Watercourse

A watercourse is defined as any channel through which water flows. Watercourses can be natural or man made, open on the surface or enclosed underground (such as in a culvert).

 

Watercourses occur naturally, they serve to drain the land and assist in supporting animal and flower life.  Historically, watercourses receive and take away water run off from buildings, roads, fields and parks. In the process of development many have been culverted or altered in other ways.

 

However not all watercourses will transport water, some act purely for storage to prevent water from collecting elsewhere and seasonal flows may also make watercourses appear dry. In times of heavy rainfall these play an important role in accommodating flood water.

 

Different types of watercourses

Watercourses fall in to two categories; 

 

a) Main rivers

A watercourse shown to be designated as main on the Environment Agency's statutory flood map. These are usually a larger stream or river with a significant effect on the overall drainage of a catchment area, however smaller watercourses can also be designated as main rivers. The Environment Agency has authority, powers, rights and responsibilities for regulating main rivers.

 

Main rivers in Bedford Borough are;

  • The River Great Ouse
  • The River Till
  • Risely Brook
  • Pertenhall Brook
  • The Mina River (a short stretch of the River Nene)

 

b) Ordinary watercourses

Any other river, stream, ditch and culvert (other than a public sewer) not designated as main. The responsibility for maintenance of these lies with anyone who owns the adjacent land or property.  Where these fall in IDB land they are regulated by the IDB, outside of this Bedford Borough Council will be the regulator.

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