How we allocate water
Water sharing plans are developed by the department in consultation with the community to determine how much water can be extracted over the long-term and how much needs to be set aside for the environment.
The volume of water licensed users can have, known as an allocation or available water determination (AWD), varies from year to year based on the licence category and size of their individual entitlement. This allocation is dependent on a range of factors including dam storage levels, river flows and catchment conditions.
Available water determinations for groundwater rely on a different range of factors. Visit groundwater for more information.
The main licence categories, in order of priority are:
- domestic and stock
- town water supply
- high security
- general security.
When determining how much water will be allocated to water users in NSW, there are number of considerations taken into account.
Water is allocated by assessing the supply, assessing existing commitments, assessing for available water determination (AWD) and announcing the AWD.
Supplementary water is surplus flow that can't be captured or ‘re-regulated’ into storage.