Mining and petroleum activities: Interfering with a waterway

The Water Act 1992 applies to mining and petroleum activities.

Mining and petroleum activities that interfere with a waterway need to comply with the Water Act 1992.

A transition period is in place to enable existing authorised mining and petroleum activities to comply with the Water Act 1992 within a reasonable timeframe.

For the transition period to apply, the mine or environment management plan must have been:

  • approved before 1 July 2019 or
  • submitted for approval before 1 July 2019 and then approved with no change.

The transition period does not apply to hydraulic fracturing activities.

Section 4 of the Water Act 1992 defines a waterway and includes:

  • a river, creek, stream or watercourse
  • a perennial or ephemeral natural channel
  • a perennial or ephemeral artificial channel that was constructed by altering or relocating a river, creek, watercourse or natural channel
  • a lake, lagoon, swamp or marsh in which water collects and that is connected to a river, creek, stream or watercourse
  • a floodplain.

A waterway does not include any artificial channel or diversion works constructed on a floodplain.

Interference with a waterway includes any activity that causes:

  • a material change to the shape of a waterway
  • a material change to the volume, speed or direction of the flow of a waterway
  • an alteration to the stability of the bed or banks of a waterway, including vegetation removal.

Examples of works that may constitute interference with a waterway include:

  • construction or alteration of a dam
  • diversion or realignment of a waterway
  • flood mitigation works such as a levee
  • extraction or deposition of material
  • waterway crossing
  • outlet structures
  • erosion and control works.

Contact the Water Resources Division for advice if you think your activity may interfere with a waterway.

Retrospective applications to obtain a permit to interfere with a waterway may not be accepted.

Applications must be made in the prescribed form and include any relevant previous or current Mining Management Plan or Environment Management Plan.

Applications submitted without all the required information will be returned.

Read more about applying for a permit to interfere with a waterway  at NT.GOV.AU website.

You can submit a completed and signed application form, with all the required supporting information either by:

  • email to or
  • post to:
    Water Resources
    Licensing and Regulation Branch
    PO Box 496
    Palmerston NT 0831

Contact Water Resources Division for more information.

Phone: 08 8999 4455 during business hours

You can view the printable version PDF (643.3 KB) of this information.

Last updated: 12 December 2019

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