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Licensing and trade

Controlled activity approvals

Apply for a controlled activity approval (CAA), use the waterfront e-tool to determine if an approval is needed, view exemptions and guidelines for CAAs.

Controlled activity approvals.

Controlled activity approvals

Controlled activities refer to work or action done on waterfront land, as defined by the Water Management Act 2000. These activities must be designed in a way to protect our waterways and ensure minimal harm as a result of the work carried out on the land.

A controlled activity approval is required before undertaking any work or development on waterfront land if an exemption does not apply.

Waterfront land

Waterfront land includes the bed of rivers, lakes, or estuaries, as well as land on each side within 40 metres of a riverbank. You can use the Waterfront land e-tool to determine if a proposed development is on waterfront land and if it requires a controlled activity approval.

Use the waterfront land e-Tool to determine if your development is on waterfront land and requires a controlled activity approval from the department.

Learn how to amend, extend, or surrender a controlled activity approval (CAA) or request a security bond release.

Guidelines for NSW controlled activity approvals, including in-stream works, laying pipes and cables, outlet structures, riparian corridors, vegetation management and watercourse crossings.

Use the controlled activity exemption e-tool to determine if you are exempt from requiring a controlled activity approval (CAA).

Examples of a controlled activity

Controlled activities may include:

  • erecting a building
  • carrying out works: including the construction of bridges, roads, control measures, sea walls, and more
  • removing material from waterfront land: including plants, rocks, sand, gravel and more
  • depositing material on waterfront land: including gravel or fill
  • any activity which affects the quantity or flow of water in a water source.

Other requirements

Most controlled activities also need development approval from your local council. If this is the case, you must lodge what is known as an Integrated Development Assessment System Development Application (IDAS DA).

Not sure about what you need?

We've developed the Water Assist tool to help you work out who to talk to and what steps to take to get the licences and approvals you need.