Tanks, dams and bores


Private water supplies include: rainwater tanks, dams, bores, rivers, creeks and irrigation channels.

Depending on what you want to install or alter, you may need to talk with your local water authority, either Western Water or Coliban Water, in addition to Council's Building and Planning teams, before commencing any work.

Rainwater tanks

Installing a rainwater tank is a great way to conserve water.

Generally, a planning permit is not usually required to install a rainwater tank under 4500 litres. There are some exceptions to this, depending on where your property is located, so it is best to check with our Planning and Building units before any works begin. For example, you may not need a planning permit to install your tank but you will need a building permit if the tank is elevated off the ground.

It is also important to consider the following before installing your tank:

  1. Where will the overflow from the tank go? A licensed plumber should be able to connect your overflow pipe to the stormwater drain where your legal point of discharge is located.
  2. How will you cover your tank to prevent contamination from leaves, animal/bird droppings; and importantly to keep children and animals out?

For more information, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning - Using alternative water sources


If you are planning to construct a dam on your property, you must apply for a planning permit. We’ve developed a checklist to help you through the process. Complete each of the following steps below:

1. Complete a Planning Permit Application and the dam checklist. You should also review the Dams Policy section of the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme.

2. Register your dam with your local water authority, please contact either Western Water or Coliban Water. This is a government regulation that came into effect on 1 January 2011 and requires all new dams or existing dams that have been significantly altered to be registered

We also encourage you to read: Dam safety management - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website

You should also complete a Dam Safety Emergency Plan template and keep it on hand in the case of an emergency.

Please contact our planning department on (03) 5422 0333 should you require further information.

Bores, rivers, creeks and irrigation channels

There are specific requirements under the Water Act that you must comply with if you want to extract water from bores, rivers, creeks and irrigation channels.

In most cases you will need to apply for a licence from your local water authority.