Surface Water Irrigation
Do I need a permit to withdraw surface water for irrigation?
Yes. A Watercourse, Wetland and Buffer Zone Activity Permit is needed to withdraw surface water (from a stream or river) when:
- the rate of withdrawal is more than 50 imperial gallons per minute, or
- more than 10,000 imperial gallons are withdrawn per day
The rate of water withdrawal is calculated based on the quantity of water available in a particular stream or river. Regardless of use, the rate of water withdrawal must not be greater than 800 imperial gallons per minute.
How much does a Watercourse, Wetland and Buffer Zone Activity Permit cost?
The fee is $300. There is no HST.
What are my responsibilities as a permit holder?
Permit holders have certain responsibilities. They must:
- keep a record of the quantity of water withdrawn,
- monitor stream flow water levels in their area, and
- abide by the conditions listed on the permit.
How do I monitor the stream flow?
A web application is available for permit holders to view and determine whether there is enough water to allow for irrigation. The application displays the water level and the maintenance flow level. Maintenance flow is defined as the amount of water needed in a stream or river to maintain a healthy system for fish and other aquatic life. When the stream flow level falls below the maintenance flow, the withdrawal of water must immediately stop. When the stream flow level is greater than the maintenance flow requirement, water can again be removed.
Irrigation sites are inspected periodically by department staff to make sure that all conditions on an irrigation permit are being met. Violations can result in a fine and the cancellation of a permit.
Who can I contact for more information?
Areas west of Hunter River:
Hunter River and east: