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Constructing a dam and not sure of the rules? Help is at hand

News release
06 April 2020

Everyone knows how important a good water source is but you must consider the needs of the many.

Constructing a dam and not sure of the rules? Help is at hand

If you are planning to build a dam or undertake activities near a watercourse, such as crossings or drains, you are encouraged to contact Natural Resources Kangaroo Island for advice, because you may need a Water Affecting Activity (WAA) permit.

Sound planning can minimise adverse impacts on other water users, as well as the health of water resources and water-dependent ecosystems.

A Water Affecting Activity (WAA) permit will generally be required if an activity involves:

  • Constructing, enlarging or removing a dam (of any size), well, or any other structure that may take or collect water
  • Earthworks, depositing, placing or removing solid material or structures within 20 metres of a watercourse or lake, or on a floodplain.

The KI Landscape Board Presiding Member Andrew Heinrich said that while the approvals process for large dams requires careful consideration and can be lengthy, permits for small dams can generally be obtained within a few days and at a small cost.

“Our Water Affecting Activity Policy is intended to ensure fair and equitable access to water for all users and to minimise the potential for conflict as our climate warms and dries, said Mr Heinrich.

“Excessive construction of unplanned small dams can reduce water security for existing farm dams by reducing run off and soil seepage.

“This year plenty of farmers have expressed concern about their chances of filling dams.

“No one at any time wants to have their dam catchment lines intercepted by the construction of another dam above them.

“This is just one of the reasons it is important that all new dams are adequately planned and recorded”.

Failure to contact Natural Resources Kangaroo Island for a WAA permit, or non-compliance with directions and conditions may result in fines of up to $120,000, and/or orders to rectify unauthorised activities.

A number of potential breaches are currently being investigated, some of which have been detected by using high quality aerial imagery of the Island.

The Kangaroo Island Water Resources Management Policy on Water Affecting Activities (WAA) describes the factors that are considered when determining whether a WAA permit is required and can be viewed here

The Policy was updated as part of the development of the KI NRM Plan 2017-2027 following an extensive stakeholder consultation process that included a community-based Stakeholder Reference Group and three public meetings.

Water is a precious resource that needs to be equitably accessed by all for social, economic and environmental purposes, so it is important to do the right thing.

More information

Communications & Media Manager

8553 4444