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Water plans and permits

We help look after metropolitan Adelaide’s water resources including lakes, floodplains, wetlands, dams, groundwater and wells. Find out about Adelaide's water plans and permits.

Water resources are the rivers, wetlands, groundwater and lakes that sustain our way of life. Brush up on Adelaide's water plans and learn about the water permits that help keep our water resources looking great.

Oaklands wetland

Green Adelaide is responsible for management of water resources in the Adelaide metropolitan area (view map of area).

This includes overseeing the implementation of the new Adelaide Plains Water Allocation Plan. This plan details the rules around licensing, allocation and management of groundwater and wells.

We also manage activities that may impact local watercourses in the greater metropolitan Adelaide area through issuing water affecting activity permits.

Our responsibility to these 2 tasks forms part of the Landscape Act SA 2019. It also contributes to our goal of protecting Adelaide’s water resources to help preserve these essential resources and to protect the ecosystems and wildlife that call them home.

What’s a water affecting activity permit?

Some activities can have adverse impacts on the health and condition of Adelaide’s water and the ecosystems that depend on them, as well as on other water users.

So if you are planning to build a structure or carry out an activity that may impact on a surface water resource or a watercourse this is what we call a water affecting activity and you may need to apply for a permit.

Water affecting activities include:

  • Constructing or enlarging dams or structures to collect or divert water.
  • Building structures in, 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.
  • Using effluent or water imported to an area for commercial activities such as irrigation.

Apply for a water affecting activity permit

To apply for a permit, follow these 3 steps:

  1. There are 2 different application form options to apply for a permit. Download the most appropriate one:
    - Water storage and diversion application form (Word | 98.7 KB) (for the construction or modification of dams)
    - Other works application form (Word | 103 KB) (for other types of water activities).
  2. Complete the appropriate form and then email it to dew.greenadelaide@sa.gov.au, or post it to the Green Adelaide Landscape Board, GPO Box 1047, Adelaide SA 5001.
  3. Pay the permit application fee of $61 at the time of submitting your application form. This can be paid via cheque or EFT. These details are provided in the relevant application form.
Timeframe to receive a water affecting permit

It is recommended that you apply for a water affecting activity permit at least 2 months before you intend to start the activity.

It will take a maximum of 40 business days for your permit application assessment.

Permit application assessment must-knows
  • All permit applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application.
  • Additional supporting information or a site visit may be requested throughout the assessment.
  • Successful applicants may be required to undertake additional actions in line with the conditions of an approved permit.
  • Successful applicants may require a site visit upon completion of works to ensure permit conditions have been met.
  • If your permit application is not approved or you disagree with any of the permit conditions, you are welcome to appeal to the Environment, Resources and Development Court within 6 weeks of the decision.
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