Permitting under The Water Resources Administration Act

Provincial Water Infrastructure

The Water Resources Administration Act gives Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure jurisdiction over the provincial water infrastructure. Provincial water infrastructure consists of provincial waterways and water control works. Provincial waterways are water control works, natural water channels, or lakes that have been formally designated as provincial waterways by OIC under authority of The Water Resources Administration Act. Water control works include works conducted

  1. for the conservation, control, disposal, protection, distribution, drainage, storage, or use, of water; or
  2. for the protection of land or other property from damage by water, or for all or some of those purposes, and includes any other work necessary or convenient for the use, operation, or maintenance of a work to which sub-clause (a) or (b) applies or constructed or operated as a complement of such work.

There are a variety of prohibitions in place to protect provincial water infrastructure from deliberate or accidental damage. The Act also recognizes that, in some situations, there may be a need or benefit for local citizens, governments, businesses, or other groups to access or use provincial water infrastructure for another purpose. These other uses could include permanent or temporary infrastructure or activities which could potentially affect operation of provincial water infrastructure. Section 15.2(1) of the Act identifies the types of third-party activities which are prohibited on provincial water infrastructure without a permit. This Section states:

15.2(1) Unless the minister has issued a permit for the activity, a person must not do any of the following:

  1. construct, or otherwise place or establish, any works or structures on, over, under, through or across provincial water infrastructure;
  2. place material on, or remove material from, provincial water infrastructure;
  3. perform any activity on or near provincial water infrastructure, or use the provincial water infrastructure in a manner, that
    1. affects or has the potential to affect its structural integrity,
    2. degrades or has the potential to degrade its vegetation cover or any other covering material intended to limit erosion, or
    3. has the potential to impair its function.

Applications for a permit are evaluated to determine the impacts and risk for provincial water infrastructure. If a permit is issued, the development or activity may be subject to any terms and conditions considered appropriate to protect provincial water infrastructure. The Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit enables MTI to allow third party use while ensuring that the integrity of provincial water infrastructure, and that the subsequent benefits that this infrastructure provide to society, including flood protection, drainage and recreational interests, are protected. Even when a permit has been issued, it remains prohibited to damage, injure, break or destroy, or to impair the function of provincial water infrastructure.

Certain activities on provincial water infrastructure are exempt from requiring a Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit by the Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit Exemptions Regulation (M.R. 61/2023). Exempted activities include erecting and maintaining temporary or seasonal ice fishing shelters on a frozen water surface; installing, operating and maintaining temporary irrigation supply lines when a person has a right to use the water; and installing, operating and maintaining a temporary manure drag line, so long as the system’s operation complies with the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation (M.R. 42/98).

Please note that some low-risk activities, such as hiking, fishing, or hunting, on or near provincial water infrastructure do not require a permit so long as they do not interfere with operation or have the potential to affect the structural integrity or plant cover of provincial water infrastructure. For activities that do not require a permit, citizens are asked to exercise the same level of due diligence and care for safety and for the environment as would be exercised around any other waterbody. Should there be any questions about whether a permit is required for an activity, inquiries can be directed to Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure’s Development Review Office at the contact below.

Not all drains, dams, reservoirs, diversions, floodways, dikes, natural water channels, and lakes are Provincial Water Infrastructure. Many such water features and structures across Manitoba are under the jurisdiction of local governments, watershed districts or private individuals or corporations. If assistance is required to determine ownership of water infrastructure, please contact the local municipal or watershed district office, or the Development Review section of Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure.

You may download an Application for a Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit at the following:

Or you may complete the application online at the following:

Questions as well as completed applications for a Provincial Water Infrastructure Permit may be returned to:
Mail: Development Review
Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure
2nd Floor 280 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0R8


Fax: 204-948-4764