Water affecting activities

Water resources in the Northern and Yorke 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 (WAA) and include:

  • 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 (e.g. erosion control, construction of water crossings or dumping material)
  • excavating material from a watercourse, lake or floodplain (e.g. excavating or cleaning soaks, waterholes and on-stream dams)
  • destroying vegetation in a watercourse, lake or floodplain (e.g. removal of reeds)
  • draining or discharging water or brine into a watercourse or lake (e.g. desalination waste, storm water including urban discharge, drainage and salinity control)
  • drilling, deepening and back filling wells, bores and groundwater access trenches
  • the use of effluent or water imported to an area for commercial activities, e.g. irrigation.

Note: All WAA permit applications relating to groundwater must be submitted to the Department for Environment and Water. Further information and application forms are available on their website.

Water in the Northern and Yorke region

Permits for water affecting activities

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. Once a permit is issued, it is normally valid for 12 months.

As part of the transition to the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, the boundaries of the Northern and Yorke region changed. View the Northern and Yorke region. As a result, there are differing regulatory documents for the assessment of Water Affecting Activity (WAA) permit applications depending on the location of your property.

To work out which regulatory document applies to your property, refer to the Water Affecting Activities Control Policy. You'll find quick links to maps, documents and Water Allocation Plans (WAPs) for your location below.

Non-prescribed areas:

To work out if your property is located in a priority catchment (and you want to build a dam or diversion), view map.

To work out if your property is located on/near a priority watercourse (and you want to undertake works), view map.

Prescribed Water Resources Areas:

Permit forms:

Once you have worked out the relevant regulatory principles for your property, the next step is to complete the appropriate form:

You should also read:

Please ensure you also include any supporting documentation noted on the form. As a minimum, you will need a copy of your Certificate of Title and any plans and photographs of the proposed activity and site location.

Once you have lodged your application and paid the associated fees, your application will be processed and assessed. Sometimes you will be contacted for more information or a Northern and Yorke Landscape Board staff member may need to visit your property for an inspection.

You will be notified in writing regarding your application, and you may be required to undertake additional actions in accordance with the conditions of an approved permit. If your permit application is not approved, or you disagree with any of the permit conditions, you may appeal to the Environment, Resources and Development Court within six weeks of the decision. Upon completion of works a Landscape Officer may conduct a further site visit to ensure permit conditions have been met.