Planning, Development and Asset Protection

Melbourne Water provides legislated flood protection, drainage and waterway protection services that seek to ensure the community of Melbourne is protected and resilient from our climate change future.

We’re continually making improvements to how we deliver our functions to mitigate the impacts of flood and keep our community safe. We provide information for new and existing properties, as well as protecting our existing assets and working to maintain the health of local waterways.

Latest updates

2022/23 performance outcomes

In 2022/23, Melbourne Water’s regulatory obligations in asset protection, statutory planning and statutory building permit assessments was met in around 90% of cases.

This figure is commensurate with most other industry decision makers at a time of unprecedented growth across Melbourne, as well as the change in planning and development legislation.

Complying with our legislative and customer service timelines for Planning and Development

Melbourne Water has an obligation to make planning, asset, development and engineering decisions within statutory timeframes set in laws and regulations.

As a floodplain management and drainage authority under government legislation, Melbourne Water ensures your development is safe from flooding and doesn’t impact other properties or waterways.

We provide design and construction standards and conditions with relation to flood management, stormwater quality, sewerage and drainage to ensure developments are safe from flooding and don’t impact other properties and waterways.

The service we provide is highly complex navigating water science and engineering in flood prone areas to deliver accurate, consistent and legally compliant decision-making that mitigates impacts to people, property and the environment.

Meeting statutory timeframe requirements

Urban development in Melbourne is occurring at a rate never seen before. This has resulted in more than a 40 per cent increase in demand for our developer services in the past three years, and based on the VPA Work Program, we know the current intensity and pattern of land development is set to continue.

To respond to this increase in demand for our services, and to get ready for the challenges of the future together with our partners, Melbourne Water is transforming the operating model of our Urban Planning and Development team, as well as growing our capacity with new skilled and experienced urban planning and engineering experts in land development.

Concurrently, there has also been a significant increase in the receipt of incomplete applications with missing documents or payments. We have also seen an increase in proposals that are non-compliant with our standard policies and design guidelines, including where strategic justifications for such proposals have not been provided.

Melbourne Water is reviewing all overdue service requests and applications and will be closing, refusing or lapsing them if the information we have requested hasn’t been provided, or if we have had no response to our previous correspondence on the matter.

What to do if you disagree with Melbourne Water’s decisions

If your statutory planning or building application is refused or lapsed and you disagree with our decision, you will be able to appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), Building Appeals Board or another appeal body.

If your case is a non-statutory service request, like a Works Offer, and you haven’t been able to comply with our requirements, we’ll close your case noting that you can reapply at any time once you have all the information we need to make the decision.

Finding a specialist to provide the support and advice you need

The role that Melbourne Water plays means we are unable to provide consultancy-style advice on redesigning buildings or redesigning flood protection systems – we’re here to make legally binding decisions. However, the links below provide information about how to find expert consulting Engineers, Planners and Architects in this space. Your local council may also be able to assist you with preparing a planning application more generally.

Consultancy Advice sought Specialist register
Drainage, Flood, Environmental or Land Development Engineering National Engineering Register
Registered Town Planner Planning Institute of Australia Register
Architect Australian Institute of Architecture Register
Registered Building Practitioner Victorian Building Authority

Continuous improvement

We’ve made some improvements to how you can obtain Melbourne Water’s Planning and Development Permit application requirements.

We’ve also commenced projects to refresh and update our technical and decision making guidelines ready for our climate change future, including working with State Government to review guidance and practice notes around development controls including the Guidelines for Development in Flood Affected Areas (DELWP 2019) and the Greenfield DSS Land Development Manual. 

You can access our current guidelines and standards, by visiting the Developer information pages.

These webpage resources provide information about our general application requirements, plus how to obtain flooding information, asset protection and stormwater design parameters that architects, building designers and flood experts must adhere to in designing your proposed development. This includes important flood information such as flood level certificates and velocities (flow rates).

Further improvements are on the horizon, aiming to align with Local Government systems and processes, which will provide faster and more consistent determinations for our customers and our colleagues across the statutory decision making system in 2022/23 and beyond.

Getting in touch with us

If you would like to contact Melbourne Water regarding a decision, compliment, suggestion or complaint please contact our Customer Service Centre:

 131 722

 enquiry and feedback form

 [email protected]

Customer Service Centre
Melbourne Water
PO Box 4342
Melbourne 3001

Further information is also available on our Contact us page.

Current service levels

For information about our current service level timeframes, please view the information below:

Planning and development timelines

The following statutory and non-statutory services can be expected to be delivered in the timeframes shown in the table below.

If your application for one of these services exceeds the current expected timeframe, please contact your allocated case officer for information on how to progress your concerns. 

Sub services Current expected timeframes (days)
Statutory Applications  
Planning permits to local council 28
Consent to Certification of plan 22
Statement of Compliance 16
Flood level certificates 14
Non-Statutory Applications  
DSS Functional design comments and acceptance  65
DSS Works Offer 200
DSS Non Works Offer 60
Stormwater quality offsets 16
VicSmart assessments 28
DSS Construction Assessments delivery timelines

The following non-statutory services can be expected to be delivered in the timeframes shown in the table below.

If your application for one of these services exceeds the current expected timeframe, please contact your allocated case officer for information on how to progress your concerns. 

Sub services Current expected timeframe
Inspection after request 28
Practical completion 21
Detailed design comments and acceptance 40
Endorsement of maintenance agreement once content has been agreed to by Melbourne Water and Local Council 21
Calculation of reimbursements 14
Application for Asset Protection approvals timelines

Melbourne Water's consent is required for any structures built over, or, near any of our underground assets, waterways or easements. 

Assets include:

  • sewer pipes
  • drains
  • water mains
  • waterways
  • wetlands and retarding basins.
Sub services Minimum expected timeframe
Build overs 28
Stormwater connections 28
Utilities installations 28
Shared pathway agreements 28
Fencing 28
Right of way requests 28
Maintenance of existing levees 28
Jetty build/construction 28
General enquiry timelines
Enquiry type Response time
Telephone messages (call-backs) Dependent on the complexity of the enquiry, all telephone queries registered and passed on before the end of the next business day
Email correspondence (excluding applications) 3 business days - Dependent on the complexity of the enquiry
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