Establishment of River Catchment Boards and Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) was formalised under provisions of the Land Drainage Act (LDA) 1930. IDBs were granted general supervisory powers over all matters relating to the drainage of land within the District. Most of these powers still operate today under the LDA 1991 (as amended).
In 1948 the Yorkshire Ouse and Humber Catchment Board became the Yorkshire River Board and the Yorkshire Water Authority in 1974. The Yorkshire Water Authority was privatised in 1989 and the much curtailed river management functions transferred to the National Rivers Authority which evolved into the Environment Agency (EA) in April 1996.
The Swale & Ure Drainage Board came into force on 1 April 2012 when five existing IDBs (Bedale & Upper Swale, Cod Beck, Claro, Lower Swale and River Wiske) were amalgamated.