Do the right thing – don’t be a damned nuisance

News article |

Thinking of constructing a dam this winter? Help is at hand to 'do the right thing'.

Do the right thing – don’t be a damned nuisance

With the winter rains finally coming to the Island, now is a time when many consider constructing a dam.

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.

According to KI NRM Board Presiding Member Richard Trethewey, while the approvals process for large dams requires careful consideration of all factors involved and can be more time consuming, permits for small dams can generally be obtained within a few days at a cost of $56.

“While the process may seem onerous, and some may be tempted to consider it unnecessary, it is critical that we account for all water taken from our catchments, even by small dams, so that we have an accurate water budget at all times and can provide as much water as possible for all users.

Excessive construction of unplanned small dams can reduce catchment opportunities in existing farm dams by reducing run off and soil seepage. This can easily happen in dry years, but for much of KI unfilled dams are a common occurrence.

“Already this year plenty of farmers are expressing concerns about likely 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” said Mr Trethewey.

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 large 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 what factors are considered when determining whether a WAA permit is required.

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.

This article form’s part of NRKI’s compliance series. To access previous articles please visit for further information please contact NRKI on 8553 4444

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