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Water affecting activities

Water resources in the Murraylands and Riverland region are precious and need to be managed sustainably. This includes watercourses, lakes, dams, floodplains, groundwater, springs, wetlands, waterholes and catchment landscapes.

Some activities in a watercourse or floodplain 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. These are called water affecting activities (WAAs) and are managed by the Murraylands and Riverland Water Affecting Activities Control Policy as required under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.

WAAs that may require a permit include (but are not limited to):

• the construction, enlargement or removal 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, storm water including urban discharge, drainage and salinity control)

• drilling, deepening and back filling wells, bores and groundwater access trenches

Permits for water affecting activities

Water affecting activities need to be managed carefully, and may require a permit. To apply for an activity relating to wells, well driller's licences, notations of interest, using effluent or imported water and general meter testing, please use the appropriate statewide form.

Please note that the authorisation required for dams may be either a water affecting activity permit or a development authorization.

• Water affecting activity permit is required for dam construction, enlargement or modifications to a volume of 5000 kilolitres (5 megalitres) or less, and/or with walls of 3 metres or less above the natural ground surface.

• Local council development approval is required for dam construction, enlargement or modifications of a volume greater than 5000 kilolitres, and/or with walls greater than 3 metres above the natural ground surface.

Further information can be found in the dam development fact sheet.

You need to apply for your permit at least two months before you intend to undertake the activity. The process of applying for a water affecting activities permit is detailed in the guide to applying for a water affecting activity permit.

• Water affecting activity permit application form - water storage and diversion
• Water affecting activity permit application form - other works

If in doubt, applicants are encouraged to contact the Water Planning and Assessment Officer on 08 8532 9100. Refer to the related links below for more information.

More information

Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board

Unit 5-6, Level 1 Sturt Centre, 2 Sturt Reserve Road, Murray Bridge 5253

08 8532 8100