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Floods are the second-most widespread natural disaster after wildfires. Their damage can be so extensive that they're responsible for 90 percent of all natural disasters in the U.S. Floods impact both individuals and communities, and have social, economic, and environmental consequences.What you can do to help yourself, and your neighbors...

What is a V-Ditch?Drainage Ditch

A “V-Ditch” is a concrete channel that is mostly found at the base of a hill to collect drainage before the water reaches a resident’s property. That water is then channeled to a drainage box.

Water is a powerful destructive force for our roads and hillsides; ditches are the best way to safely carry water away from our infrastructure. This makes it imperative that ditches be kept clean and free of debris.

Keeping your v-ditch clear

  • Remove any leaves, sticks, rocks
  • Reframe from storing materials in v-ditch
  • Don't build any structures over your v-ditch
  • Keep the drain clear from any obstructions such as chicken wire or rebar, as this can cause flooding very quickly


Easements - What are they? Why are they important?

An easement is a right that someone has over limited use of someone else’s property. Utility easements are usually given to a utility company or local government in which they use a landowners land to run utility lines, cable wires, or gain access to other land or waterways.

What happens if the homeowner is not around to let the City in, in the event of an emergency or non-emergency?

Property owners are responsible to provide City Officials access through the easement. Failure to do so could leave the homeowner liable for any damages that occur to surrounding properties. We ask that gates and access be left open so that in case of an emergency, the responders could easily access the easement. City crews will do everything they can to find an alternate route, but if they are unable to find a new route, San Rafael’s Police Department will assist in granting access to responders.

What are the responsibilities of maintaining an easement?

Maintaining an easement is a joint effort. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the easement clear from clutter or vegetation and to also help monitor the easement for any potential problems. We ask that you help us help you.

Who to call when there's a problem?


  • Downed trees, large branches or powerlines
  • Mudslides or blocked roads/sidewalks
  • Blocked roadside storm drains or flooding
  • Flooding due to overflow from creeks or other natural watercourses
  • Other flooding damage or blocked access to roads, sidewalks, parks, or public pathways
  • Traffic signal light out (completely off — not flashing to red)

M-F 6:30am – 5:00pm call Public Works Dispatch : 415-485-3372

After hours call SRPD Dispatch (24/7): 415-485-3000

Non-emergency issues

  • Blocked or partially blocked storms drains not causing flooding
  • Leaves or small branches
  • Minor damage on private property
  • Damaged road sign
  • Traffic signal light flashing to red

Call the Public Works main line: 415-485-3355 or write us at and we’ll address your concern!

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