Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Watercourse Alteration

Watercourse Alteration

You need to take great care when working in and near watercourses, like rivers, streams, lakes, creeks, ponds, springs, lagoons, or other natural bodies of water.

Requirements and restrictions for watercourse alterations protect surface water resources and to ensure sustainable use.

An alteration is any change made to the bed or bank of a watercourse or to the water flow within it. Culvert and bridge crossings, wharf construction, utility crossings, dams and removal of material from the banks or bed of a watercourse – all of these human activities can seriously alter or disturb our lakes, rivers, and streams. They can affect water quality, water flow, and aquatic ecosystems.

Activities that don't alter the bed or bank of a watercourse don't require any submission to Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change.

Working near water

Check watercourse alteration activities to find out of you need to plan a project or make repairs (find common projects in the table and their regulatory requirements).

Qualified sizers are able to design many common projects. Other projects may need input from engineers or other professionals. 

All work in a watercourse needs to be overseen by a qualified Installer.

Regulatory Requirements


Technical Guidance Materials

Sizers and Installers