Water affecting activities

Managing water resources

Water resources in the Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges 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 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, stormwater 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.

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

Flood hazard management for dams

Guidelines to provide dam owners and emergency personnel with more information about preventing and responding to dam failure during flood events are now available.

Cutting red tape

Permit exemptions exist for some water affecting activities. These exemptions are listed in Table 10 of Volume 2 of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Plan. Current recommended practices are being developed for these activities to help cut through red tape.

You may not have to apply for a permit if your proposed activity is detailed below.

Current recommended practice:

Best practice operating procedures for local government

Best practice operating procedures have been developed with local government. These procedures reduce red tape whilst helping councils understand their obligations and options under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 when undertaking works in a watercourse.

Want to de-silt your on-stream dam?

You no longer need to apply for a permit, as long as you meet the criteria outlined in Table 10 of volume 2 of the NRM plan . This includes making sure that when you desilt the dam you do not increase its size and dispose of the silt responsibly so it does not re-enter the watercourse.

If you have any queries, please contact the Policy Officer Water Permits on (08) 8273 9100.

Fact sheets


Related links

More information

  • Policy Officer Water Permits
    (08) 8273 9100
Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges