Water affecting activity permit FAQs

If you are conducting work near a waterway, its banks, or floodplain, you may need a permit. Explore our frequently asked questions to find out.

If you own or are conducting work on a property located adjacent to a waterway, its banks, or floodplain, you may sometimes need to carry out water affecting activities. A permit may be required for these activities to reduce the impact on people and the environment.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions.

What is a water affecting activity permit?

There are a number of activities identified under the Landscape SA Act 2019 as water affecting activities. These activities can’t be undertaken in or near waterways without a permit from Green Adelaide.

Which activities need a water affecting activity permit?

Common activities that may need a permit are building dams, creek crossings, retaining walls, culverts or bridges; excavating, depositing material or removing vegetation in a creek bed, banks or floodplain; or discharging water into a waterway.

Who needs to apply for a water affecting activity permit?

If your business, property, or organisation is located adjacent to a waterway (or its banks or floodplain) and you need to carry out activities that might affect the waterway, you may need to apply for a water affecting activity permit.

I’m a contractor do the permits apply to me?

If you are contracted to conduct works in a waterway or on the banks or floodplain, you should check whether your client has the necessary approvals before you commence. If they don’t, you may be asked to stop work, or the job may be cancelled completely.

What is the purpose of the permit?

The purpose of a water affecting activity permit is to reduce the risks of an activity on people and the environment. The permit may include conditions, such as to prevent flooding, manage erosion or sediment movement, and protect vegetation, native fish and other animals.

If you conduct your activity without a permit or not in accordance with the permit, follow-up action and penalties may apply.

Does every activity in or near a waterway need a permit?

No, some local councils or government departments may have signed an agreement with Green Adelaide so they don’t need a permit in every case. Some low-risk activities such as Removing Vegetation from Waterways (PDF | 747 KB) and Constructing Ford Crossings over Waterways (PDF | 1 MB) can be conducted in accordance with a Current Recommended Practice.

How do I apply for a permit, or check whether a permit is required?

Before completing a water permit application, read the Water-Affecting Activities Control Policy (PDF | 924 KB) to find out the rules that apply in your area.

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Main image courtesy of Martin Stokes.