Understand the Water Approval Process

Connecting to water supply and wastewater networks is a critical part of development. Understanding the process can help developers save time and money.  Follow the tabs below to learn more about what is required and what you can expect, or download our helpful
 Water Approval Process diagram.

Reduce risk and surprises with planning and research 

Undertaking investigations about and on your property is always recommended to potentially save you time and money.

  • Request an optional Engineering Search to guide further physical inspections about Urban Utilities infrastructure recorded on and around your site.

Information provided via an Engineering Search should always be supported with site investigations prior to detailed designs. Service and infrastructure locations identified via an Engineering Search are based on historical records and are approximate only. An Engineering Search will not provide location details on existing private infrastructure (or infrastructure owned by other authorities), for example off-line mains, or assets owned by other authorities, such power, gas or stormwater assets.

  • Request a Services Advice Notice (SAN) where planning a complex development or a development generating trade waste.

How to apply

Once you have a Development Approval from the relevant planning authority, you can apply for a Water Approval. The size, nature and complexity of your development will determine the type of Water Approval application you need.

  1. Identify the right application for your needs.
  2. Ensure a properly made application using our Check for Completeness guide.
  3. Submit and pay for a Standard Connection (generally for simple residential developments – see further details) or Non-Standard Connection application (all other development activity).  

How is my application assessed?

Applications are assessed against:

Depending on the type and nature of your development, the application will be assessed as a Standard Connection or a Non-Standard Connection

Following assessment of your application, you will be issued with a Decision Notice (via email) confirming:

  • approval or refusal of your request
  • the conditions which apply to your Water Approval (where your application is approved) or reasons for refusal (where your application has been refused) and
  • next steps in the Water Approval process.

What is an Information Request (IR)?

In some instances, further information may be required in order to assess your application, and you will be issued an Information Request (Action Notice if at the Check for Completeness stage/lodgement). If you receive an IR it is important to:

  • provide a coordinated, prompt, and complete and accurate response
  • ensure the response includes sufficient detail and addresses the questions asked and relevant codes and other requirements.

If you have been issued an Information Request and you have any questions please email the assessment manager responsible for your application or: 

  • General enquiries: developmentenquiries@urbanutilities.com.au
  • Assessment: DCMTenquiries@urbanutilities.com.au

Design and planning

Non-Standard Connection (Major and Minor works)

Upon assessment, your development will be classed as Major or Minor works. This classification is determined by site and design complexities. The greater the complexity, the increased likelihood of your applications being considered Major works. Non-Standard Connection may include:

  • Connecting a new or altered water supply or wastewater service to a property (other than those identified as a Standard Connection).
  • Completing a multi-stage development, or development involving complex assets (pumping, storage and treatment facilities and reticulation network).
  • Planning a development that will generate trade waste.
  • Lowering a maintenance structure (manhole).
  • Raising a maintenance structure (manhole), excluding G-type, with finished height less than three metres.

An engineering consultant must be engaged to undertake design and certification of the connection works.  

Engaging a consultant

Minor works: the engineering consultant must be selected from Urban Utilities’ Endorsed Consultant Register . The Endorsed Consultant Certification Scheme provides an efficient and cost-effective way to engage an approved ‘third-party’ engineering consultant. 

Major works: the engineering consultant must have a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) qualified engineer. In addition, you will have access to the experience of an Urban Utilities' appointed Assurance Officer.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to negotiate their own terms of engagement and any private contract is between the applicant and consultant and does not involve Urban Utilities.

Completing your Design phase

A Water Approval and a Design Approval are required for all Non-Standard Major works connections, disconnection and alterations.

  • Prepare required design documentation and details, including certification by a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ).
  • If required, submit a Design Variation to request approval to vary from the design standards or Urban Utilities’ Approval Conditions.
  • Upload the complete Design Package to the Developer Applications Portal, inclusive of any reports or other documents required by the Water Approval.
  • Issue of Design Approval Decision Notice (subject to Urban Utilities review).

Construction works

Here your design and planning are put into action, and the construction of the infrastructure connection works are completed on site. Refer to our helpful Water Approvals Process diagram.

Standard Connection

  • Construction is completed by the Urban Utilities contractor. See our Standard Connections for information.


Non-Standard Connection  (Minor and Major works)

  • Request a Network Access PermitPlease note: in the rare case that your connection requires the isolation of a trunk water main, a Complex Shut Plan will be required. Preparation and approval may take up to four months.
  • Order large water meters (if required)
  • Register construction details with Urban Utilities
  • Book/schedule field audits/site inspections
  • Complete all required testing and quality assurance
  • Collate all As-Constructed package documentation
  • Pay all outstanding fees and charges to progress to the Compliance/Maintenance phase.    

Building a network to rely on, now and for the future

The compliance phase ensures all conditions of the Water Approval have been met in order to protect the health and safety of the community, and guarantee the integrity of our infrastructure. 

Achieving on and off maintenance

'On and off maintenance' describes a 12-month, two stage process of complying with conditions of a Water Approval when constructing infrastructure that will be transferred to Urban Utilities, e.g:

  • water supply and wastewater (sewerage) infrastructure
  • pump stations
  • large diameter trunk mains
  • reservoirs
  • treatment plants, etc.

Your works are on-maintenance for 12 months following completion of construction and issue of a Connection Certificate (warranty period). Off-maintenance refers to the period afterwards, where the End of Maintenance package is lodged with Urban Utilities.   

It is important to read all conditions of your Water Approval to determine what requirements apply to your particular development. 

Standard Connection

  • The authorised contractor will submit an As-Constructed package to Urban Utilities, detailing the completed works.
  • Urban Utilities will issue your Connection Certificate.

Non-Standard Connection (Major and Minor works)

 On maintenance:

  • For both Major and Minor works, the Endorsed Consultant or consulting engineer must submit an As-Constructed package to Urban Utilities, detailing the completed works for technical review.
  • Where compliant, Urban Utilities will issue your Connection Certificate, and the infrastructure will be considered on-maintenance for 12 months.
  • Where infrastructure is not compliant, the Connection Certificate will not be issued, and use may not commence within the site.
  • Any remediation works undertaken must be recorded by the engineer and provided to Urban Utilities via the Developer Application Portal.

Off maintenance:

  • At the end of the 12 month on-maintenance period, the End of Maintenance package is lodged to Urban Utilities.
  • All outstanding fees and charges must be paid to commence off-maintenance.
  • Return of security bond where compliance requirements are satisfied (Major works only).

A Water Approval is an authority given to a customer to make a connection, disconnection or alteration to our water supply and/or wastewater (sewerage) networks.

A Water Approval is contained within a Decision Notice provided to the customer following the assessment of a connection application. The Decision Notice contains conditions that the customer must comply with in order to make a connection, disconnection or alteration.

  • Safeguards quality design and construction for service reliability and efficient network operation. 
  • Ensures Urban Utilities has detailed records to locate and maintain infrastructure, manage network impacts and support future development and connections.
  • Protects the health and safety of the community and the environment.
  • Ensures your development and water servicing needs are met.
  • Allows you to safely and lawfully occupy or sell your property.
Research your site:
  • Is there existing infrastructure on or near your land? Access our connection area maps to determine the drinking water, non-drinking water and wastewater services in your area.
  • What site and research investigations have been undertaken, how have you managed risk through contingency? Our Research my land information may help.
  • Are other utilities (electricity, gas, telecommunications etc.) and/or local council infrastructure located on your site? The free Dial Before You Dig service can help identify infrastructure in the general location that you are planning to work.
  • Does your site have specific considerations that may affect the complexity, cost and time of your development, e.g. easements, manholes and maintenance structures, heritage listing, protected vegetation, floodable land, acid sulphate soils, or is your site located within/adjacent to a waterway or major transport corridor? 
  • Are there outstanding fees or non-compliance for existing development on your site that may now be your responsibility? 
Engage a consultant:
  • If applicable, have you considered gathering at least three quotes from consultants and secured a contract to govern the rights and duties of all parties?
Review your application:
  • Are your application plans and details complete and correct before lodging? Refer to our Check for Completeness Guide to ensure a complete and properly made application, saving you time and money.
  • Do you understand the process steps and time frames? Our Commitment To You outlines our service standards and obligations, including response time frames.
  • Are you familiar with the fees and applicable infrastructure charges and to correctly estimate total costs? Access our current fees and charges.

An application for a Water Approval and a development application do not need to be submitted simultaneously, or in a particular order, however to potentially save you time and money, we recommend you lodge an application for a Water Approval after you have received the Development Approval. 

While these processes are interconnected, the timing of your submission is at your discretion. If approved, each will come with its own, respective conditions package and ultimately, both sets of conditions must be completed.

If the proposed development is outside of the Urban Utilities Connection Area, it would be highly beneficial if a development application has been lodged with the local council. This will assist our assessment team to understand the scope of the development, reduce both potential complications and the need for amendments. 

Where developers are proposing to connect to our water supply and/or wastewater services, councils may require evidence that a connection is available.