Internal Drainage Boards are statutory bodies set up to manage water levels in a defined district for the benefit of land managers, householders and industry in that area. They are funded by agricultural occupiers through the drainage rate and local authorities through a levy. Drainage Districts only exist in areas of special drainage need. IDBs are given powers through the Land Drainage Act to:
• Enforce the Land Drainage Act
• Act as the supervisory body for all matters relating to land drainage within the District
• To make Byelaws to protect adopted rivers and watercourses and then enforce them
• Carry out such works which the Board deem necessary.
To do this the Land Drainage Act permits the Board to levy the rate in order to fund its operations. The Board’s powers are permissive and there is certainly no obligation to do works for the ratepayer in return for payment of the rate. The drainage rate is intended to fund management of the District to the benefit of the community within the District. Payment of the drainage rate by land owners or occupiers is compulsory and legally enforceable.