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Works and activities in, under, on or over the bed and banks of Designated Waterways (see definition below) in Victoria require a permit from the relevant Catchment Management Authority. 

To protect our rivers and creeks it is important that new activities or works undertaken do not adversely affect the health of those waterways. Many practices in the past have caused major degradation to our waterways.

For example, poorly constructed crossings and other structures can cause erosion, obstruct water flow and hinder the passage of aquatic life.

Works and/or activities requiring a permit may include:

  • Access crossings including bridges, culverts and fords
  • Services/utility crossings
  • Stormwater outlets
  • Stabilisation works such as bank protection, bettering and retaining structures
  • Vegetation and debris removal
  • Sand and gravel extraction


Designated waterways are named or unnamed, permanent or seasonal, and range in size from a river to a natural depression. Designated waterways are declared under the Water Act 1989. Maps of these waterways can be inspected at your local CMA Office.


Failure to obtain a permit or failure to observe the given conditions may constitute an offence under the Water Act 1989 or the the CMA's Waterways Protection By-laws. Penalties for offences apply.


Step 1. Permit applications and guidelines are available from the North East CMA office or can be downloaded below. 

Step 2. Fill in the application form providing as much detail as possible, before submitting the application to the North East CMA. A processing fee of $120 applies, although some exemptions do apply.

Step 3. An assessment of the application is undertaken. Assessments of applications can take up to 30 business days. Depending on the complexity of works further information may be required to progress your application. In this instance, additional charges may apply.

Step 4. Subject to the application and proposed works being deemed as satisfactory, a permit may be issued. Where an email address has been provided the permit will be emailed to the applicant when issued.

Step 5: Any person, who carries out works or activities for which a permit has been issued must:

  • notify the CMA at leasts 7 days before commencing the works or activities; and
  • notify the CMA upon completion of the works or activities.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, the permit issued is valid for one year from its date of issue (unless earlier revoked by the CMA).

Download the Works on Waterways Guidelines

Download the Works on Waterways Application Form 
(PDF form)

Download the Works on Waterways Application Form
(MS Word form)

The following Works on Waterways information sheets are available for download:

Works on Waterways - Bridges

Works on Waterways - Culverts

Works on Waterways - Deviation or Realignment

Works on Waterways - Ford

Works on Waterways - Large Wood

Works on Waterways - Services/Utilities

Works on Waterways - Bank Stabilisation

Works on Waterways - Vegetation

Works on Waterways - Stormwater Outlet