Your annual rates notice may include a Stormwater Management Services Charge. It is generally levied on privately owned urban land that is categorised for rating purposes as residential or business, excluding vacant land.
This money funds a program of additional investigations and activities towards improving stormwater quality, managing stormwater flows and flooding, and the harvesting and reuse of stormwater.
How charges apply
|Type of Property||Amount|
|Residential strata lots||$12.50 per property|
|Residential single dwelling||$25.00 per property|
|Business strata lots||Min $5.00 per property or the relevant portion of the charge for the whole scheme if it was one business parcel|
|Business – not strata||$25.00 per 350 square metres (or part thereof)|
Frequently asked questions
If you cannot find your answer below, please contact our Stormwater and Floodplain Engineering Team.
What is stormwater management?
Stormwater is rainwater runoff from rooftops, paths and roads collected by a system of pipes and drains. Stormwater often flows from property drains to street gutters and systems connected to various channels, pipes and creeks across our drainage system.
Stormwater management involves the use of physical structures, treatment techniques and monitoring to improve stormwater quality and lessen excessive flows. The aim is to reduce pollution in our stormwater and reduce the impact of stormwater on the community.
Council’s stormwater network is its single largest asset class with an approximate value of $1 billion.
What is the Stormwater Management Services Charge?
An annual charge on the rates notice, authorised by Section 496A of the Local Government Act 1993 and Local Government (General) Regulations 2005. It is generally levied on privately owned urban land that is categorised for rating purposes as residential or business, excluding vacant land.
Income raised through the Charge supports improvements to the drainage system to protect people and properties from flooding, the health of our waterways and provides opportunities for the harvesting and reuse of stormwater.
Why is stormwater management important?
Increasing urbanisation has resulted in an increase in water-resistant surfaces and has significantly increased the volume of stormwater flowing into our waterways. Stormwater flows down the street picking up litter, sediment and chemicals, carrying it into our drains and discharging it to our waterways, beaches, creeks and lagoons as well as causing flooding in some areas.
Most stormwater infrastructure is buried in the ground and it isn’t until something goes wrong that it becomes a problem. The SMSC is intended to enhance Council ability to better deliver processing stormwater issues relating to both the quantity of stormwater produced and the quality (or contamination).
How is the SMSC spent?
The charge you pay is used to provide new and additional stormwater management services. Council’s programs and projects are outlined in our Delivery Program.
The charge funds programs and projects such as:
- drainage systems, including pipes, channels, retarding basins and waterways receiving urban stormwater;
- stormwater treatment measures, including gross pollutant traps and constructed wetlands;
- stormwater harvesting and reuse projects;
- community and industry stormwater pollution education campaigns; and
- inspection of commercial and industrial premises for stormwater pollution prevention.
The charge can also partly fund expenditure such as:
- cleaning up of stormwater pollution incidents;
- water quality and aquatic ecosystem health monitoring of waterways, to assess the effectiveness of stormwater pollution controls; and
- monitoring of flows in drains and creeks, to assess the effectiveness for flow management (flooding) controls.
The SMSC cannot be used for general activities undertaken by Council which may relate to stormwater management such as maintenance of parks, gardens, riparian vegetation, bushcare activities, street sweeping or kerb and guttering. There are some exceptions where the existence of a strong link between the activity being undertaken and the stormwater and the other asset.
The Annual Report provides details of programs funded by the charge each financial year.
Why am I being charged an SMSC?
Stormwater often flows from private property drains to street gutters and systems connected to various channels, pipes and creeks across our drainage system.
The charge supports improvements to the drainage system to protect people and properties from flooding, the health of our waterways and provides opportunities for the harvesting and reuse of stormwater.
Which properties are exempt from the SMSC?
The SMSC is restricted to business or residential rated properties generally within an urban (or non-rural) area.
Land exempt from the charge include:
- Land ownership
- Public land such as Crown land, Council-owned land and land held under a lease for private purposes granted under the Housing Act 2001 or the Aboriginal Housing Act 1998
- Land belonging to charities and public benevolent institutions
- Rating category
Land categorised as ‘Farmland’ for rating purposes
Rural residential or rural business land (i.e. land not located within a village, town or city.
Indicators of this may include land:
- located on Pittwater’s western foreshore
- zoned RU2 rural landscape (former Pittwater LEP)
- zoned RU4 Primary Production Small Lots (former Warringah LEP)
Strata developments are not exempt. Land is to be assessed against the level of stormwater service currently in place.
- Land use
- Vacant land, as in land containing no buildings, car parks or large areas of material such as concrete (i.e., no impervious surfaces)
- Low impact land - with a maximum 5% impervious surface area and large recreational parcels. Examples would include golf courses.
- Land temporarily vacant for a period of less than 12 months (eg demolition of a building to construct a new building) may not receive a rebate if the land is not expected to be vacant at the start of a rating year on 1 July.
- Stormwater management service not provided
There are no known properties that meet this definition with the exception of the above due to location and land use.
Can I get a discount or exemption if I recycle stormwater on my property?
No. Stormwater management systems like rain tanks generally do not stop all stormwater from leaving your property.
How do I request an exemption from the SMSC?
If your property meets an exemption category, but you have been charged the SMSC, you can apply for an exemption.