Water affecting activities

Water resources in the region are precious and need to be managed sustainably. These include watercourses, lakes, dams, floodplains, groundwater, springs, wetlands, waterholes and catchment landscapes. Some activities can have adverse impacts on the health and condition of water resources and the ecosystems that depend on them, as well as on other water users. 

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board specifically manages surface water resources, including activities in and around watercourses and dams.

These activities include:

  • Water diversion and storage - erection, construction, modification, enlargement, or removal of a dam, wall or other structure (dam, wall or other structure; piping a watercourse; channelling a watercourse; stormwater harvesting/treatment; wetland)
  • Building a structure in a watercourse, lake or floodplain (buildings or structures <10m2; pump house; horse shelter; culvert; crossing point or bridge; fencing)
  • Drainage or discharge of water into a watercourse or lake (pre-excavation works; stormwater from buildings; pipes; culverts; side entry pits)
  • Depositing objects or solid material in a watercourse, lake or floodplain (island in dam in a watercourse; ripraps; rocks; tyres; snags; filling a watercourse; levee banks)
  • Obstructing a watercourse (planting vegetation)
  • Excavation or removal of rock, sand or soil from a watercourse, lake or floodplain (desilting dam in a watercourse; desilting wetlands, swamps and springs; realignment or alteration of a watercourse; groundwater access trench (gat) construction)
  • Destroying vegetation growing in a watercourse or lake, or growing on the floodplain of a watercourse (removal or destruction of trees, shrubs, grasses)

Our Hills and Fleurieu Water Affecting Activities Control Policy sets out the principles for managing these water affecting activities.

 Other water affecting activities relating to the use of imported water and effluent, well construction and repair, draining or discharging water into a well and commercial forestry are managed by the Department of Environment and Water (DEW).  For more information visit www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/water/water-licences-and-permits.

Landholders, property managers, local governments, industry and organisations must lodge permit applications to the relevant authority.

Current recommended practices

The Board has endorsed the following recommended practices regarding removing vegetation, and controlling watercourse sediment within bush-fire affected areas:

Local government and other statutory agencies' best practice operating procedures

We've developed best practice operating procedures for granting exemptions for local government and other statutory authorities for particular water affecting activities that would otherwise require a permit. These procedures help local government and other statutory authorities understand their obligations and options when undertaking works in a watercourse.

Local government and other statutory authorities without endorsed procedures can contact our water team to discuss adopting one.

Permit applications

Water affecting activities need to be managed carefully, and may require a permit.

You need to apply for your permit at least two months before you intend to undertake the activity.


Water affecting activities - Frequently Asked Questions

Fact sheets

Dams in the Hills and Fleurieu region June 2021

Ford crossing - best practice guidelines for construction June 2021

Culverts - best practice guidelines for construction June 2021  

Related links

More information