Declared areas and watercourse limits
- Declared catchment areas
- Declared drainage and embankment areas
- Downstream and upstream limits of a watercourse
- Groundwater areas
- Wild rivers
Declared catchment areas
To preserve the quality of the water within particular water supply storages, parts of Queensland that immediately surround those storages have been declared as ‘catchment areas’ under the Water Act 2000 (Water Act).
Some types of development within these areas must be approved by both local government and either the:
- Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority (trading as Seqwater)—for areas within South East Queensland, or
- Department of Environment and Resource Management—for areas outside South East Queensland.
The relevant water supply storages within South East Queensland are Wivenhoe Dam, Bill Gunn Dam, Atkinson’s Dam, Maroon Dam, Moogerah Dam and Cedar Pocket Dam.
For more information see Declared catchment areas and the Policy and code for preserving water quality in declared catchment areas (PDF, 192K)* (Ch. F10 of the Handbook of Resource Planning Guidelines).
Declared drainage and embankment areas
Works that are installed or constructed to control the flow of water into or out of a watercourse, lake or spring within declared drainage and embankment areas are code-assessable development under the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.
For areas included in declared drainage and embankment areas, refer to Schedule 9 Drainage and embankment areas, Water Regulation 2002 (PDF)*.
For more information or copies of the plans for drainage and embankment areas, contact your local departmental office.
Downstream and upstream limits of a watercourse
Clear downstream and upstream limits are important for applying the Water Act’s jurisdiction when accessing water and quarry material resources in a watercourse. When the natural limits are unclear and cannot be easily identified the department will declare them through the Water Regulation 2002 (Water Regulation). Declared limits override any natural limits.
For the downstream and upstream limits of a watercourse refer to Schedule 8 Downstream and upstream limits, Water Regulation 2002 (PDF)*.
If you need to discuss where your property is in relation to these limits or to obtain copies of the plans where they apply, contact your local departmental office.
The following is a brief overview of downstream and upstream limits. (Note: Gullies and other small drainage features that flow only in response to a rainfall event are generally not watercourses.) For more information contact the department or refer to the relevant legislation.
The downstream limit of a watercourse can be either the:
- point in a coastal stream to which the spring tide normally ebbs and flows (the natural limit)
- downstream face of any barrage constructed in the tidal reaches of the stream
- point declared by the Water Regulation (commonly a bridge or property boundary).
The upstream limit of a watercourse can be:
- the point where the stream becomes so small that it does not have sustained base flows after rainfall events—usually evident by the lack of riverine vegetation species or aquatic-dependant habitat such as pools and riffles (the natural limit)
- the point declared by the Water Regulation.
In Queensland, a number of groundwater areas have been established to protect groundwater. A groundwater area is an area identified in the Water Regulation, a water resource plan or a wild river declaration. Within these areas authorisation is required to access and/or construct works to take groundwater for certain purposes.
Groundwater areas are also referred to in various ways in legislation such as declared subartesian areas, subartesian areas or subartesian management areas.
To help preserve wild rivers in their near-pristine condition, a wild river declaration outlines where certain types of new development can occur in the catchment, and under what conditions. A wild river declaration is a statutory document under the Wild Rivers Act 2005.
For more information refer to Wild rivers.
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Last updated 13 February 2012