Development that may have an effect on the water environment (including groundwater and fisheries)

Advice on development that may have an effect on the water environment

Key considerations

You should consider the potential risks to surface and ground water quality, quantity and flow, and fisheries interests. Polluting discharges and/or contaminated run-off entering the surface water or groundwater environment as a result of the construction and/or the operation of the proposed activity on the site can impact water quality. Proposed development within a watercourse may affect hydromorphology, quantity and flow of surface waters, while development requiring excavations and/or changes in ground level have the potential to interrupt groundwater flow paths.

Should DAERA be consulted?

Answering ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions will require consultation with DAERA

Development Type

Does the proposal fall within one of the following development types:

  • housing developments (over 10 units)
  • all livestock housing and agricultural development including slurry pits, silage clamps etc
  • proposals involving engineering works within water e.g. hydroelectric schemes, bridges, weirs, aquaculture
  • extractive industry
  • energy generation – from waste, wind farms, single wind turbines, power stations, solar energy plants
  • anaerobic digestion factilities
  • waste management activities
  • end of life vehicle storage and treatment/ vehicle fuel filling stations/car wash
  • cemeteries
  • landfill sites
  • infrastructure developments e.g. roads, pipelines etc


Does the development involve any of the following activities:

  • deep drilling or boreholes
  • abstraction of groundwater/surface water
  • mineral extraction dewatering
  • construction involving piling


Does the development involve works to be conducted in or within 10 m of any waterway and there is a potential risk that the development will involve  construction or operation likely to affect any waterway as a result of:

  • sediment release into watercourses
  • discharge of effluent or spillages of oils/fuels/cement/chemicals or other pollutants
  • any temporary or permanent modification to the watercourse channel

Is the development within 250 m of a private water supply (spring, well or borehole) used for drinking water or for supply for commercial activity.

Further guidance

Data sources

DAERA Digital Datasets for Natural Heritage and Water.   Digital Datasets | DAERA

River Basin Map Viewer

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