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Taking and using water

What water management authorisations do I need to take and use water directly from the River Murray in SA? 

It is an offence under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 to take and use water in SA without the necessary Water Management Authorisations (see section 127(6)). To take and use water directly from the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse most users will need three separate Water Management Authorisations:

  1. A Water Allocation, which is the volume of water that may be taken in a water use year. A water use year runs from 1 July to 30 June.
  2. A Water Resource Works Approval, which is the approval to construct, maintain and operate works for the purpose of taking water.
  3. A Site Use Approval, which is a permission to use water at a particular location in a particular way. 

Taking water - water resource works approval 

A water resource works approval is the permission to construct, operate and maintain works for the purpose of taking water from a prescribed resource at a particular location and in a particular manner. This permission is attached to land and is not transferable to another location. In order to construct any works you will need legal access to the land.

Applications for new water resource works approvals require technical and/or site assessments and a fee will apply.

A water resource works approval will generally state a time limit of 12 months for the construction of the approved works and a requirement to notify the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources when construction is completed.

The buyer of land with associated River Murray works must ensure that the name of the works approval holder is varied to reflect the name of the new owner or legal occupier.

Forms for creating or varying a works approval.

More information on Water Resource Works Approvals. 

Using water - site use approval 

A site use approval is a permission granted by the department to use water from the River Murray at a particular site and in a particular manner. This permission is attached to the land to which it applies and is not transferable to another location. You need site use approval to carry out any type of irrigation or other water use along the SA River Murray. 

If you plan to use River Murray water in South Australia and you either do not have site use approval or need some more, it is suggested that you speak with staff at the department’s Berri Office (08) 8595 2053 

More information on site use approvals can be found here

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