Find information about streams in Sønderborg Municipality.

Streams can be private or public and open or piped. Drainage pipes, for example, are also a watercourse.

Sønderborg Municipality has a duty to maintain the public watercourses, while the plot owners have a duty to maintain private watercourses. The watercourses in Sønderborg Municipality are small and particularly vulnerable to pollution, environmental accidents, water extraction and waste water.

Remember that environmental accidents must always be reported to 112.

Map of watercourses

See map of streams here.

What obligations do I have if I am a landowner for a watercourse?

If you are the owner of a stream, you must pay particular attention to:

  • The free flow of water must not be obstructed.
  • As a private plot owner, you are obliged to maintain it as necessary, so that the water flow capacity does not change, i.e. piped sections must be flushed, root-cut, repaired or replaced as necessary and any blockages must be removed (but only deposited material).
  • The conditions surrounding public watercourses are determined by watercourse regulations. In the joint regulations, you can see which general obligations you as a lot owner have and which the municipality stands for. When the municipality has cut crops, you have e.g. obligation to remove and spread open crops at least 2 meters from the watercourse edge. Read more in the Common Regulations under Documents. 
  • There is a 2 m curb in land zones. Read more in the pamphlet about curbs by streams under Documents.

You can contact Sønderborg Municipality (see contact information at the bottom of the page) if you believe that a public watercourse needs cleaning or other maintenance.

If you are responsible for inadequate maintenance, you may risk liability for the affected properties. 

You also have a right to ensure that your neighbors secure the water drainage on their properties, so that the water from your property can be diverted away. Talk to your neighbor about the problem. Read more about neighbor complaints in connection with. streams. In case of continuing problems, you can contact the municipality via this electronic form.

Can I plant or remove vegetation close to a watercourse?

You must not plant so close to piped streams or drains that there is a risk of roots penetrating the pipework. 

You may not plant trees in public watercourses without the permission of Sønderborg Municipality. In the case of open public watercourses, you must keep a distance of 8 m to the upper edge of the watercourse. In the case of piped public watercourses, you must keep a distance of 4 m to the outer edge of the pipe.

You must also apply for permission to remove trees and shrubs along open public watercourses.

When should I apply for permission to change my stream?

You may only change in or by a watercourse with the permission of the municipality. However, you need to be aware of whether the stream is specially protected by the Nature Conservation Act §3 and/or targeted in The watershed plans.

You must apply for permission to:

  • measures that can change the water flow capacity.
  • to change the course or cross-section of the stream.
  • to establish bridges, overpasses and slope protection.
  • to cross streams with pipelines, cables and the like.
  • to establish buildings, fixed fences, planting, less than 8 meters from the upper edge of open watercourses and less than 4 meters from piped watercourses.
  • to change terrain.
  • to establish watering points.
  • to restore the stream, e.g. when laying stones and alley gravel. 
  • to remove trees and bushes that shade the stream.

Apply for crossing streams. You are obliged to obtain the necessary permission from landowners who are affected by the crossing. If the line is to be located in a nature conservation area, you must also apply for a dispensation from the Nature Conservation Act. 

Apply to change the natural drainage of water. No one may change the natural drainage of water to another property or obstruct the natural drainage of water from higher-lying properties without the permission of the river authority.

Apply for shared use of pipelines. According to Section 63 of the Watercourses Act, everyone who leads water to a drain or a private piped stream is a co-user of the pipe in question. If you want to divert water to a pipeline, you must also apply to become a co-user.

If you want to change a stream, you must submit one application for regulation of watercourses. The regulation case describes, among other things, who has to pay for the regulation. See a form for party declaration here.

Is my watercourse particularly protected under the Nature Conservation Act?

Streams can be protected by Section 3 of the Nature Conservation Act. This applies to both public and private watercourses. In these streams, normal maintenance must be carried out, but the condition cannot be changed without a dispensation. See them on the map.

Contact us

Water and Nature
Lille Rådhusgade 7
6400 Sønderborg

Phone hours:

Monday - Wednesday: 9.00 am - 15.00 pm
Thursday: 9.00 am - 17.00 pm
Friday: 9.00 am - 14.00 pm