What is Illinois Drainage Law?
The most basic principle of Illinois Drainage is that landowners are responsible for the drainage that occurs on their property and that landowners must accept surface water flowing naturally from higher ground. Additionally, landowners must accept whatever advantages or inconveniences of drainage nature places upon their land. What these advantages or inconveniences are ultimately depends on the elevation of one's property in relation to the land around it.
One of the most important rules of Illinois drainage law is that the owners of lower ground, known as a "servient tenement," are bound to receive surface water that naturally flows onto it from higher ground, known as the "dominant tenement." This rule means that owners of farms or lands that are lower than adjoining lands must take the water that flows through natural depressions onto their land. Likewise, owners of lots that are lower than adjoining lots must receive the water.