- What is overland flow?
- How overland flow is managed
- Development applications
- Where the taking of overland flow is regulated
- Moratoriums on development
- Contact details
What is overland flow?
Overland flow is water that runs across the land after rainfall, either before it enters a watercourse, after it leaves a watercourse as floodwater, or after it rises to the surface naturally from underground.
It does not include:
- water that has naturally infiltrated the soil in normal farming operations
- irrigation tailwater if its recycling meets best practice requirements
- water collected from roofs for rainwater tanks.
Most water in rivers and underground reserves originates as overland flow. If too much water is intercepted before it reaches a watercourse, or if too much floodwater is intercepted before it returns to a watercourse, there can be serious implications for:
- towns, industries and farms that rely on watercourses for water supplies
- landholders who rely on beneficial flooding
- the maintenance of healthy waterways
- groundwater recharge
- ecosystems relying on periodic inundation.
How overland flow is managed
A person may take overland flow for any purpose unless there is a moratorium notice, a water resource plan or wild river declaration that limits or alters the water that may be taken. Rules in water resource plans established under the Water Act 2000 (Water Act) regulate the building of works that take overland flow either actively or passively.
Works that take overland flow actively include:
- pumps, storages, sumps, drains and pipes used to take or store it
- any storage connected to another one used to take overland flow, and the connecting infrastructure
- structures used to hold overland flow for ponded pastures.
Works that take overland flow passively include embankments or diversion banks used to direct it into dams, or to slow it down to increase the amount taken. This does not include works used in soil conservation.
Water resource plans do not regulate works that ‘interfere’ with, but were not built specifically to take overland flow. However, local planning laws may still regulate the building of these structures which include:
- contour banks
Where the construction of overland flow works is regulated, the development may be either assessable or self-assessable development under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. See the State Development Assessment Provisions for assessable development and the codes for self-assessable development for information on constructing works for taking overland flow.
You must also ensure that you comply with any other relevant state and federal laws when constructing works under these codes.
Where overland flow works are assessable, a development application must be lodged through the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) process coordinated by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.
All assessable development requirements under the Water Act 2000 are outlined in the State Development Assessment Provisions.
Where the taking of overland flow is regulated
Currently, the taking of overland flow is regulated in the following water resource plan areas:
- Baffle Creek (PDF)*
- Border Rivers (PDF)*
- Burdekin Basin (PDF)*
- Calliope River Basin (PDF)*
- Condamine and Balonne (PDF)*
- Cooper Creek (PDF)*
- Fitzroy Basin (PDF)*
- Georgina and Diamantina (PDF)*
- Gulf (PDF)*
- Mitchell (PDF)*
- Moonie (PDF)*
- Moreton (PDF)*
- Warrego, Paroo, Bulloo, and Nebine (PDF)*
- Whitsunday (PDF)*
Moratoriums on development
Moratoriums can be declared to suspend construction of new works for taking overland flow. This ensures that all existing uses are properly accounted for and that no further development takes place while a water resource plan is being developed. Moratoriums can continue to have effect until a resource operations plan is in place.
Moratoriums on works to take overland flow water are in place in the following areas:
For further information on overland flow, contact the department business centre in the relevant water resource plan area.
Border Rivers, Condamine Balonne, Moonie and Warrego, Paroo, Bullo and Nebine
Phone: 07 4529 1394
Burdekin Basin and Gulf
Phone: 07 4761 2223
Fitzroy and Calliope River Basin
Phone: 1800 822 100
Georgina and Diamantina Rivers and Cooper Creek
Phone: 07 4650 1900
Phone: 07 4048 4850
Gatton Research Station
Phone: 07 5466 2222
Phone: 1800 822 100
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 18 July 2013