Building a dam? Do you need a dam permit?

Dams can store water for stock, irrigation, dairy effluent and even for garden landscaping purposes. So how do you know when a dam permit is required?

In most cases, dam works will require a dam permit issued by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

Dam works are defined under the Water ManagementAct 1999 as any works for the construction, erection, enlargement, modification, repair or removal of a dam. It also applies to any work on an existing dam which may significantly increase the dam’s safety risk.

There are two classifications of dams: lower risk dams (Division 4) and higher risk dams (Division 3). There are a number of tools, such as the Dam Works Assessment Decision Framework, available on the DPIPWE website to help you classify your dam works. For information on building dams, click here.

If you undertake dam works without the appropriate permit this could be an offence under the Water Management Act 1999 and action may be taken against you and the person building the dam. This could include a fine.

As all proposed dams (both lower risk and higher risk) require a consultant or dam engineer to make an assessment of the dam safety category, it is recommended to talk to a dam consultant to get advice on what permit you may need. A list of consultants can be found here.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact waterlicensing@dpipwe.tas.gov.au