Dams and soaks can provide a valuable supply of water especially during dry months when rainfall is low. If you wish to build a new dam or soak or expand existing ones, you need to know about planning approvals and licences required to construct, expand or clean them out.

Definition

A dam is defined under the Local Planning Scheme No.1 as:

“….any man made structure or excavation designed and constructed to intercept, accumulate, and impound water flowing across through or under any land and includes an off-stream dam, an on- stream dam, a gully wall dam, a turkey nest dam, an excavated soak and any structure excavation or other device designed to act either solely or partly as a nutrient stripping basin.”

Permitted zones for dams and soaks

Dams are permitted in these zones, however planning approval is still required prior to constructing or expanding a dam or soak. A licence from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) may also be required. See Step 1: Determine if you need a water licence below for further information. 

In some zones such as the Rural Residential zone or properties within the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge zones, all proposals for constructing or expanding a dam or soak require planning approval. A licence from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) may also be required. See Step 1: Determine if you need a water licence below for further information.

Planning approvals for dams and soaks

Planning approval is required to build or expand a dam or soak. 

If building or expansion of a dam has commenced without first obtaining planning approval, retrospective approval must be sought from the Shire.

If you are cleaning out an existing dam or soak (not expanding it from its original size) and it will be used for domestic uses or non-intensive stock watering, you are required to inform the Shire in writing and provide a copy of your existing dam(s) locations and the dimensions of the dam(s). 

Shire officers will conduct an assessment of this information and determine whether planning approval is required.

Apply for approval to build or expand a dam or soak

Prior to applying to the Shire for planning approval, it is important that you contact the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to determine if you require a water licence.  

This is because all surface water areas and groundwater resources within the Shire are protected to enable better management of these water resources. Under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914, it is illegal to extract water from a watercourse or groundwater aquifer without a water licence. 

Refer to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s web page to find out more about water licensing.

Clearing of native vegetation for farm management purposes in the Priority Agriculture, General Agriculture and Cluster Farm zones is prohibited unless it is:

  • Authorised by a permit obtained from the Department of Water and Environment Regulation
  • Exempt in accordance with Schedule 6 or Regulation 5 (Clearing of Native Vegetation Regulations) of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Refer to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s web page to find out more about clearing permits and exemptions.

This step is not applicable to land outside of the agricultural zones.

To apply for planning approval, complete the application form below. This form includes a checklist of required documentation.

Application for Development Approval (includes Checklist) (PDF)

Please attach a copy of any relevant correspondence and/or licences obtained from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to your planning application.

A fee is payable when applying for planning approval. This fee must be paid upon formal lodgement of the application.

Please refer to the Planning and Development Fees and Charges to determine the applicable fee. The planning application fee for a dam application is calculated based on the cost of development.  A Development Application Fee Calculator is also available to assist you.

Ensure you submit your application with all the required documentation, as outlined in the checklist at the end of the form.

You can submit your application in person, by email or by post.
  • In person: Shire Civic Centre, 41 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret RiverBy
  • email: [email protected]
  • By post: Shire of Augusta Margaret River, PO Box 61, Margaret River WA 6285

Share this page

Back to Top of the page