Since late medieval times there had been Commissioners of Sewers for Somerset; they had been responsible for a massive area of 160,000 acres. There were ‘officials’ known as ‘viewers and ‘dyke reeves’ who were responsible to local landowners who had charge of a particular area. later they also had more duties imposed on them as grander schemes for the drainage and management of the Somerset levels were introduced. However, gradually the responsibilities for these water management schemes devolved onto the commissioners of sewers once these works were finished.
The River Parrett Navigation Company was formed in 1836; ‘navigation’ here means waterways, not steering ships upon them. The Act mentioned on this notice had an important effect on the management of this very watery area: the Somerset Drainage Act (1877) gave the control of the area of the River Axe, River Brue River Parrett, River Tone, River Ile and River Yeo to the new Drainage Commissioners and ten new internal drainage boards were created.