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.

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)

Our fact sheet (PDF, 77.56 KB) has information about application fees for flood work approvals.

Rural landholders and industries

WaterNSW is your one stop shop for licensing services, including flood work approvals, for rural landholders and rural industries.

Visit WaterNSW
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