Apply for a permit to interfere with a waterway

You must apply for a permit to change a waterway's:

  • shape
  • volume, speed or direction of water flow
  • bed or bank stability.

If you need to extract water, you must apply for a surface water extraction licence.

If you need advice, you should contact the Water Resources office.

When you don't need a permit

You don't need a permit if you're constructing any of the following:

  • road drainage
  • culverts, bridges and urban stormwater drainage works that meet engineering standards accepted by the relevant public authority
  • rural dams with a bank height of less than 3 metres and a catchment area of less than 5 square kilometres
  • soil conservation and landcare activities approved by the NT Government.

How to apply

To apply for a permit, you must follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the application for a permit to construct or alter works PDF (17.3 KB).

Step 2. Provide all of the following:

  • soil analysis of the dam wall from an accredited testing authority including the core (any errors in that analysis can cause the dam wall to break)
  • survey of the:
    • storage area to work out how much the dam will hold and the area of inundation at full supply level
    • biodiversity depending on the location and the availability of information about biodiversity in the area
  • hydrological report with a water balance study to meet the estimated demand
  • geotechnical report with soil tests, dam wall foundations and the dam's ability to store water and any potential leaks
  • engineering drawings with:
    • dam wall design
    • spillway and outlet design
  • assessment of the downstream environment and vulnerability to flooding if the dam fails
  • Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority certificate.

Step 3. Submit the application and supporting documents at your local Water Resources office.

Applications can be advertised to allow for comment on the construction proposal. The applicant will pay for the cost of advertising.

Any comments received will be considered with the permit application.


For advice or more information, email the Water Resources office at

Last updated: 27 August 2020

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