A NSW Government website


Flood works approvals

Learn more about flood works approvals and their purpose, and how to apply for a new approval or to amend an existing one.

The Hawksbury, east of the causeway.
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NSW water regulation legislation and requirements in NSW can be complex. The department manages licences and approvals for the state’s largest water users while WaterNSW works with most other water users. We’ve developed the Water Assist tool to help you work out who to talk to and what steps to take to get the licences and approvals you need.

Use the Water Assist tool

Works to minimise flood risks

Flood work approvals allow you to construct and use a work which is situated in or in the vicinity of a river, estuary or lake, or within a floodplain, and is likely to have an effect on the flow of water to or from a river, estuary or lake, or the distribution or flow of floodwater in times of flood.

Examples of flood works are barrages, causeways, cuttings, embankments, levees to prevent inundation of flood waters, building pads and below ground channels.

The purpose of flood work approvals is to ensure that the construction or use of a work:

  • does not cause negative impacts on water sources and their dependent ecosystems, other water users, and
  • minimises the existing and future risk to human life and property.

How do I apply for an approval?

You can apply for a new approval or to amend your existing approval.

Flood work approvals

Application form

Supporting information

New approval

Application form (PDF, 263.23 KB)

Guide (PDF, 205.45 KB)

Amend approval

Application form (PDF, 311.32 KB)

Guide (PDF, 158.82 KB)

Fact sheet

The department charges fees to cover the cost of assessing applications relating to flood work approvals.

Download the fact sheet (PDF. 78KB)
Flood works approvals

Are there exemptions?

You do not need a flood work approval if an exemption applies, such as:

  • for major projects which are state significant development or state significant infrastructure
  • in certain circumstances specified in the regulations, for example:
    • for local councils if the work is constructed or used under a development authorisation granted by a council, and the work is not located within an unmanaged designated high risk flood area
    • for the Rail Corporation NSW if the work is for the purposes of a railway
    • for a roads authority if the work is for the purposes of a public road
    • to comply with a direction given in an emergency under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 or State Emergency Service Act 1989
    • for a ring embankment around a dwelling house, shed or silo but only if the work is not located in a designated high risk flood area and does not enclose more than the permissible area
    • earthworks that are less than 150mm above (not below) the natural surface of the ground but only if the work is not located in a designated high risk flood area.

Contact us

For information about whether an exemption applies to your proposed activity, contact us at waterlicensing.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au