(1) In this Act:
"Aboriginal economic development" means economic development by or for the benefit of eligible Aboriginal people.
"Aboriginal water reserve" means a reserve of water allocated in a water allocation plan for Aboriginal economic development in respect of eligible land designated under section 22C.
"Advisory Committee" means a Water Advisory Committee established under section 23.
"aquifer" means a geological structure or formation, or an artificial land-fill, permeated or capable of being permeated permanently or intermittently with water.
"authorised officer" means a person appointed under section 21.
"bed" and banks , in relation to a waterway, means the land over which normally flows, or which is normally covered by, the water of the waterway, whether permanently or intermittently, but does not include land from time to time temporarily covered by the flood waters of the waterway and abutting on or adjacent to its bed and banks, the bed being the relatively flat portion and the banks being the relatively steep portions of the land comprising the bed and banks.
"beneficial uses" means the uses of water specified in subsection (3).
"bore "means a natural or constructed hole in the ground that is used, or could reasonably be used, for any of the following purposes:
(a) taking groundwater;
(b) investigating the behaviour, occurrence and availability of groundwater;
(c) monitoring the condition of groundwater;
(d) injecting water to recharge an aquifer;
(e) disposing waste directly or indirectly into groundwater.
"bore work" means any of the following:
(a) drilling, decommissioning, constructing, altering, deepening, plugging, backfilling or sealing off a bore;
(b) removing, replacing, altering, slotting or repairing the casing, lining or screen of a bore.
"Chairperson", in relation to the Review Panel, includes a person appointed under section 26 to act in the office of the Chairperson, while the person is acting.
"consent" means a consent granted and in force under this Act.
"Controller" means the Controller of Water Resources appointed under section 18.
"developer", for Part 6B, see section 71F(1).
"development", for Part 6B, see section 71F(1)(a).
"drilling licence" means a drilling licence granted under section 49.
eligible Aboriginal people are Aboriginal people who have a legal entitlement to access water resources because of their ownership of or interest in eligible land.
"eligible land", see section 4B.
"environment" means all aspects of the surroundings of humans, including the physical, biological, economic, cultural and social aspects.
"environmental harm" means any harm to or adverse effect on, or potential harm to or adverse effect on, the environment.
"flow", in relation to water, includes the discharge, release, escape or passage of water.
"groundwater" means water occurring or obtained from below the surface of the ground (other than water contained in works, not being a bore, for the distribution, reticulation, transportation, storage or treatment of water or waste) and includes water occurring in or obtained from a bore or aquifer.
"hydraulic fracturing" means the underground petroleum extraction process involving the injection of fluids at high pressure into a geological formation to induce fractures that conduct petroleum for extraction.
"hydraulic fracturing waste", see section 4A.
"interfere with a waterway" means any of the following:
(a) cause a material change to the shape of a waterway;
(b) cause a material change to the volume, speed or direction of the flow or likely flow of water in or into a waterway;
(c) cause an alteration to the stability of the bed or banks of a waterway, including by the removal of vegetation.
"land" includes a building or structure on land.
"licence" means a licence granted and in force under this Act.
"material environmental harm" means environmental harm that:
(a) is not trivial or negligible in nature; or
(b) results or is likely to result in not more than $50,000 being spent in taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the harm or rehabilitate the environment; or
(c) results in actual or potential loss or damage to the value of not more than $50,000.
"mining activity "means a mining activity as defined in section 4 of the Mining Management Act 2001 , including another activity for a purpose ancillary to that activity.
"mining site" has the same meaning as in the Mining Management Act 2001 .
"occupier", in relation to land, means:
(a) a person occupying the land (under whatever title or permission, or without title or permission); or
(b) a person entitled to occupy the land, whether or not the person is actually occupying the land.
(a) in relation to land alienated from the Crown by grant or by an Act – the owner of an estate in fee simple in the land; and
(b) in relation to land held under a lease granted by the Crown – the lessee; and
(c) in relation to land of the Crown subject to an agreement for sale or right of purchase – the person entitled to the benefit of the agreement or right of purchase; and
(d) in relation to unalienated Crown land, not being land referred to in paragraph (c) – the Territory.
"permit" means a permit granted and in force under this Act.
"petroleum activity" means exploration, extraction or processing of petroleum under an Act or an Act of the Commonwealth, including another activity for a purpose ancillary to one of those activities.
"petroleum site" means:
(a) an access authority area, licence area or permit area, each as defined in the Petroleum Act 1984 , on which petroleum activity occurs; or
(b) an area of land on which exploration for petroleum occurs, or petroleum is extracted or processed, under an Act of the Commonwealth.
"pollute", in relation to water, means directly or indirectly to alter the physical, thermal, chemical, biological or radioactive properties of the water so as to render it less fit for a prescribed beneficial use for which it is or may reasonably be used, or to cause a condition which is hazardous or potentially hazardous to:
(a) public health, safety or welfare; or
(b) animals, birds, fish or aquatic life or other organisms; or
"prescribed" in relation to a form, includes approved by the Controller under the Regulations.
"public authority" includes:
(a) a statutory corporation; and
(b) a council constituted under the Local Government Act 2019 .
"remediation notice", see section 33A(2).
"re-use", in relation to water, includes to use waste water or effluent, whether or not it has been treated.
"Review Panel" means the Water Resources Review Panel established under section 24.
"serious environmental harm" means environmental harm that is more serious than material environmental harm and includes environmental harm that:
(a) results or is likely to result in more than $50,000 being spent in taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the harm or rehabilitate the environment; or
(b) results in actual or potential loss or damage to the value of more than $50,000; or
(c) damages an aspect of the environment that is of a high conservation value or of special significance; or
(d) is irreversible or otherwise of a high impact or on a wide scale.
"take", in relation to water, includes to withdraw, pump, extract, use or re-use, and to divert for the purposes of using or re-using, that water and, where it is artesian water occurring in a bore, to allow the artesian water to flow from the bore.
"tidal water" means:
(a) water within the geographical area constituting the Territory that is directly affected by the tide; and
(b) water within the geographical area constituting the Territory seaward of water referred to in paragraph (a) that is not coastal waters of the Territory within the meaning of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Powers) Act 1980 of the Commonwealth; and
(c) coastal waters of the Territory within the meaning of the Coastal Waters (Northern Territory Powers) Act 1980 of the Commonwealth, declared under section 5(6) to be tidal waters.
"waste" includes matter or a thing, whether wholly or partly in a solid, liquid or gaseous state, which, if added to water, may pollute the water.
"waste discharge licence", see section 74(1).
"water" means water, whether or not it contains impurities.
"water allocation plan" means a plan declared under section 22B.
"water extraction licence" means:
(a) a licence under section 45 to take water; or
(b) a licence under section 60 to take water from a bore.
"water extraction licence decision", see section 71A(1).
"waterway" means any of the following:
(a) a river, creek, stream or watercourse;
(b) a natural channel in which water flows, whether or not the flow is continuous;
(c) a channel formed wholly or partly by the alteration or relocation of a waterway described in paragraph (a) or (b);
(d) a lake, lagoon, swamp or marsh, whether formed by geomorphic processes or modified by works:
(i) in which water collects, whether or not the collection is continuous; and
(ii) into, through or out of which a current (which forms the flow or part of the flow of a river, creek, stream or watercourse) passes, whether or not that passage is continuous;
(e) land on which, as a result of works constructed on a waterway described in paragraph (a), (b) or (c), water collects, whether or not the collection is continuous;
(f) land which is intermittently covered by water from a waterway described in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e), but does not include any artificial channel or work which diverts water away from such a waterway;
(g) if any land described in paragraph (f) forms part of a slope rising from the waterway to a definite lip, the land up to that lip;
(ga) shallow groundwater immediately underlying the bed or banks of a waterway;
(h) land declared under section 5(1) to be a waterway.
Note for subsection (1)
The Interpretation Act 1978 contains definitions and other provisions that may be relevant to this Act.
(2) In this Act, a reference to a waterway includes a reference to a part or portion of a waterway.
(3) The following are the beneficial uses of water:
(a) agriculture – to provide irrigation water for primary production including related research;
(b) aquaculture – to provide water for commercial production of aquatic animals including related research;
(c) public water supply – to provide source water for drinking purposes delivered through community water supply systems;
(d) environment – to provide water to maintain the health of aquatic ecosystems;
(e) cultural – to provide water to meet aesthetic, recreational and cultural needs;
(f) industry – to provide water for other industry uses not mentioned elsewhere in this subsection;
(g) rural stock and domestic – to provide water for the purposes permitted under sections 10, 11 and 14;
(h) mining activity – to provide water for a mining activity;
(i) petroleum activity – to provide water for a petroleum activity;
(j) Aboriginal economic development – to provide water for Aboriginal economic development.