Sometimes when you are considering new works you could be proposing positioning structures (buildings, retaining walls, extra fill) close to or over the existing drinking water, wastewater or stormwater networks which can be found within private properties. Building over or near a pipeline can result in damage to the pipe or the property. It can also restrict future options for maintenance and renewal of the pipeline.

For guidance on how to check if you have public network on or adjacent to your property, visit the locating the water, wastewater and stormwater networks page. It may be that that the presence of public service on or adjacent to your property may restrict the full use of your property.

Applications to build over or near a public pipeline needs approval from Wellington Water.
Proposals to build over service connections, water supply pipelines or sewer pressure pipes will not be approved.

Wellington Water requires that reasonable alternatives to relocate the proposed building or divert the existing pipeline are considered before submitting a proposal to build over or near a pipe. Where no suitable alternative exists and the risks to the network can be minimised, Wellington Water will consider allowing buildings over wastewater or stormwater pipes with appropriate conditions.

The ability to build over or alongside a public drain is considered on a case-by-case basis, upon application.

If you are considering undertaking works that may require building over or alongside existing drinking water, wastewater or stormwater services then please contact the Wellington Water Land Development Team via email at, as early as possible to discuss options and expectations.

How close is close?

How close to the public networks you build is dependent on the type of works, as well as the depth, size and function of the service. In general, works within 3 metres of the network need approval. However, permission for piles, including driven piles within 10 metres, may also need premission. 

As a guideline, if you have confirmed that there is existing drinking water, wastewater or stormwater networks within your property and it looks like the works you are looking to undertake are within 3m of the network shown (drain, manhole etc) then it is strongly advised to contact the Wellington Water Land Development Team to discuss further via email:

The Regional Standard for Water Services (Wellington Water's three waters network design guide) provides detail on clearance and foundation design considerations when considering building close to stormwater or sewer networks.