Non-tidal boundaries

Non-tidal lakes and lagoons

When a plan of survey includes a boundary fronting non-tidal lake or lagoon waters, the line of the bank that constitutes that boundary should be examined by the surveyor by comparing it by plot with the boundary as defined by the Crown survey. If the comparison discloses no more than minor variations in position, the definition will be accepted by NSW LRS.

If variations of any significance are evident, the surveyor must adopt the original line of the bank, as pursuant to s.172 Crown Lands Act, 1989 (formerly s.235A(6) Crown Lands Consolidation Act 1913 now repealed), the doctrine of accretion and the 'ad medium filum' rule does not apply and is deemed never to have applied to non-tidal lakes.

Where the original line cannot be reproduced with certainty, the approval of Crown Lands, to the definition in the plan, will be required see Consents to natural boundaries.

Non-tidal rivers and streams

When a plan of survey includes a boundary fronting non-tidal stream waters, the line of the bank forming the boundary of the land should be examined by the surveyor and compared by plot with the line as defined by the current plan. If the comparison discloses no more than minor variations in its position, the definition will be accepted by NSW LRS. A suitable statement should be added to the plan see Consents to natural boundaries.

Where a survey reveals a substantial variation in the position of the bank when compared with that determined in earlier plans, the consent of the Minister administering the Crown Lands Act 1989 is required. Sufficient evidence must be produced to support any claim of accretion and/or erosion. A statement of consent should be added to the plan see Consents to natural boundaries.

If the position of the bank has changed suddenly, or by artificial means (i.e. flood, reclamation etc), the position of the bank as defined before the sudden change occurred must be adopted. Both the existing and original positions of the bank (suitably annotated) should be shown on the plan.

Locating or relocating non-tidal boundaries

The following points must be observed by a surveyor when locating or relocating a parcel boundary defined by non-tidal waters and when showing that boundary on a new plan of survey:

  • the doctrine of accretion and erosion does not apply to land adjoining any non-tidal lake see cl.49 Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2012
  • the bed of a lake or stream is defined by the average level of water to the bank, without reference to floods and/or droughts but includes areas that might be alternately covered or left bare with increase or diminution in the water supply
  • a lake includes a permanent or temporary lagoon or similar collection of water not contained in an artificial work
  • the middle line of a stream need not be marked unless the purpose for which the survey is made so requires see cl.47 Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2012
  • if the middle line of a stream is the boundary of land and has not previously been defined by survey, or if the middle line of a stream is otherwise required to be determined, then both banks of the stream must be surveyed and shown on the survey plan together with the determination of the middle line see cl.47 Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2012
  • the natural feature boundary must be surveyed to show each change in course or direction with appropriate accuracy
  • the landward boundary of an existing reservation or Crown road of stipulated width along a non-tidal stream or lake or other natural feature which has not been previously defined by survey must be defined by right lines approximately parallel to the position of that natural feature as originally defined and the location of that natural feature as it existed at the time of the survey must be determined and shown on the new plan of survey see cl.45(2)(d) Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2012. Reference marks must be placed at the terminals of the survey and at intervals of not more than 1000 metres along the boundary.