Development Applications

Development Applications

The following key steps outline the process of submitting a development application (DA) in the Sydney drinking water catchment where all proposed developments need to have a neutral or beneficial effect (NorBE) on water quality.

If you have any questions about the process or your development application, you should contact your local council directly.

Steps to submit a DA

1. Contact your local council to discuss your proposal / development

Tip: To find out if your development is in the drinking water catchment, refer to the interactive catchment map.

2. Prepare your development application (DA)

Your DA must include a water cycle management study or equivalent information - this includes details on how your DA will deal with wastewater, stormwater, erosion and sediment control, and other information that will help to assess your DA.

The study must include a statement as to whether the development would have a NorBE. Your DA should also incorporate WaterNSW endorsed management practices or alternative management practices or standards to achieve outcomes not less than those achieved by Water NSW’s current recommended practices and standards.


  1. Find out more about the different reports and modelling you need to include with a development application as part of your water cycle management study - view Water Quality Information Requirements for development in the Sydney drinking water catchment in the key documents section of this page.
  2. To help you choose a consultant to prepare the water cycle management study for your development application - view Using a Consultant to Prepare Your Water Cycle Management Study in the key documents section of this page.
  3. To determine appropriate management practices to address water quality issues view current recommended practices and performance standards.
Key documents

Using a consultant to prepare your Water Cycle Management study (PDF, 181.42 KB)

Developments in Sydney's Drinking Water Catchment - Water Quality Information requirements (PDF, 2508.86 KB)

3. Submit your application to your local council

4. Either

Council assesses your DA for potential impacts on water quality

Your council will use the neutral or beneficial effect (NorBE) assessment tool. This step will include a site inspection and your council will contact you about this.


Council sends your DA to WaterNSW for concurrence.

NOTE: This only relates to DAs dealing with more complex development and water quality issues.

WaterNSW will contact you about a site inspection and complete this assessment this within 40 days.

Key documents

Neutral or Beneficial Effect on Water Quality Assessment Guidelines (PDF, 1071.7 KB)

5. The DA approval

Does the development have a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality?

YES - Consent may be granted by Council subject to other aspects of the DA process being satisfied.

NO - Council will refuse consent for the DA based on water quality grounds.


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Tuesday 17 May