Streams & Douits
Guernsey water advises that streams and douits must be cleaned of growth and obstructions to ensure the free flow of water. All debris must also be removed from pipes and culverts. Under the Loi relative aux Douits, this is the responsibility of the land owner.
All streams are required by law to be cleared of vegetation and other obstructions twice yearly ahead of Parish inspections by the streams committees. The first clearance is required to take place by the 15th June and the second by the 30th September.
Under the Loi relative aux Douits, 1936, as amended, including by “Loi relative aux Douits, (Amendment) Law, 2013”, it states under Section 8 –
“8. (1) A Stream Committee may serve a notice (a “warning notice”) signed by two or more Constables or Douzeniers, on a person who in their opinion has failed to carry out any duty upon him, whether under this Law or otherwise, in relation to –
(a) the cleaning of a watercourse,
(b) the clearing of obstructions to the free flow of water in a watercourse, and
(c) the repair of the banks of a watercourse.”
Guernsey Water highlights that to clean a stream and ensure an unrestricted flow involves not only the cutting and removal of weed from the bed but also the removal of any obstruction to the flow of water and any silt or stones which may have accumulated in the stream bed. It further advises-
1. Vegetation of sufficient coverage to cause the stream to be hidden, blocked, partially blocked or flow altered should be cut and subsequently removed from stream.
2. Any flows of water that can be seen to be being slowed/impeded as a result of foreign objects (debris, litter, large stones, branches etc.) would be considered obstruction and needs to be removed.
3. Large silt deposits (this would be judged purely subjectively on a relative depth of silt to channel ratio) should be removed from the channel.
4.Where the stream is piped or flows through a culvert, reasonable judgment must be used as to whether the pipe is blocked or restricted.
5. It should be noted that if rare / endangered flora is growing on the stream beds or banks some discretion should be used depending on the location and flood risk (for example, orchid fields)
Alterations that have not had prior permission by Guernsey Water should also be reported. This would include any unauthorised channelization, piping or diversion of a stream.