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Works on waterways





Works and activities in, under, on or over the bed and banks of Designated Waterways (see definition below) in Victoria require a Works on Waterways 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 undertaken with the best intentions 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, battering and retaining structures
  • Vegetation and debris removal
  • Sand and gravel extraction


What are designated waterways?

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. You can also contact the North East CMA and we will check if there are designated waterways on your property for you, and we can email you a map showing roughly where the designated waterways are.  


What happens if I don’t obtain a Works on Waterways Permit?

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

Who manages water in the North East Region? 

Responsibility for the region's natural waterways and providing water services is shared between the North East CMA, rural and urban water authorities.                                                                                                                                                                    

Catchment Management Authority - Talk to the North East CMA for:   

  • Permits to undertake works on waterways
  • Flood information and advice    
  • River health

Rural Water Authority - Talk to Goulburn-Murray Water for:

  • Permits to take and use water
  • Groundwater extraction
  • Bore construction

Urban Waterway Authority -  Talk to North East Water for:

  •  Urban water and sewerage infrastructure
  •  Urban bill enquiries                                                          


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.

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 least 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).


Works on Waterways Brochure and Application Form

Works on Waterways Information Sheets 

  • Works on Waterways - Flood Debris                  Click Here

  • Works on Waterways - Bridges                          Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Culverts                         Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Deviation/Realignment  Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Ford                               Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Large Wood                   Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Services/Utilities             Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Bank Stabilisation          Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Vegetation                      Click Here
  • Works on Waterways - Storm Water                   Click Here




You can contact the Statutory Planning Team directly at planning@necma.vic.gov.au or Phone 1300 216 513