In South Australia all persons have a general statutory duty under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (NRM Act) to act reasonably and responsibly in relation to the management of natural resources. This includes an obligation to maintain and not damage, a watercourse, floodplain or lake.
What are water-affecting activities?
Water-affecting activities (WAA) are activities that can potentially have adverse impacts on the health and condition of water resources, on other water users and on the ecosystems that depend on water resources. These water resources include watercourses, lakes or dams, floodplains, groundwater, springs, wetlands, waterholes and catchment landscapes, among others. Management of water-affecting activities is needed to protect our natural systems and water dependent ecosystems, maintain water quality and minimise impacts on other water users.
Activities requiring a permit
The NRM Act and Volume D of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Region NRM Plan outlines WAAs which, when undertaken may require a permit. These include, but are not limited to:
- the construction or enlargement of dams or structures to collect or divert water
- building of structures, obstructing or depositing solid materials in a watercourse, lake or floodplain, eg erosion control, construction of water crossings or dumping material
- excavating material from a watercourse, lake or floodplain, eg excavating or cleaning soaks, waterholes and on-stream dams
- destroying vegetation in a watercourse, lake or floodplain, eg removal of reeds
- draining or discharging water or brine into a watercourse or lake, eg desalination waste, stormwater including urban discharge, drainage and salinity control
- drilling, deepening and backfilling wells, bores and groundwater access trenches
- the use of effluent or water imported to an area for commercial activities, eg irrigation.
- landholders, property managers, local governments, industry and organisations must lodge permit applications with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board (the Board).
The building or alterations of dams may also require a permit. If you are thinking of building, deepening or enlarging an existing dam, please follow links below.
For information on constructing a farm dam or maintaining one, please refer to the Your Dam Your Responsibility document as a guide only.
Applying for a permit
You need to apply for your permit at least two months before you intend to undertake the activity. Visit the Applying for permits page
Best Practice Operating Procedures for Working in Waterways Manual
The Best Practice Operating Procedures for Working in Waterways Manual is a guide for Local Government to ensure that the integrity of all watercourses is preserved or enhanced to sustain important ecosystems whilst maintaining the values of each system. This guide for Local Government has been developed to facilitate the movement towards all Councils developing and implementing best practice operating procedures when undertaking a water affecting activity. By providing leadership in this area, all Councils will demonstrate the significance of operating in a best practice manner.
This Manual was produced in partnership with Local Government, for Local Government. This partnership approach will continue to benefit Local Government, the Board and the environment as we continue to strive for a sustainable approach to managing natural resources in an integrated way.