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Water supply work approvals

How to apply for a water supply work and water use approval

Application forms and guides to apply for a new approval or existing approval.

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NSW water regulation legislation and requirements in NSW can be complex. The department manages licences and approvals for the state’s largest water users while WaterNSW works with most other water users. The Water Assist tool will help you work out who to talk to and what steps to take to get the licences and approvals you need.

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Application transaction types

The application form you submit will be determined by the type of water supply work or water use approval you require. Find your work or activity in the following list and use the application form provided in the table following the list.

New approvals

Water supply work approval

A water supply work approval allows you to construct and use a work which takes water from a river, lake or aquifer. The following category of works require a water supply work approval:

  • extraction works – groundwater
  • pumps – surface water
  • channels for diverting or conveying water, regulators or pipes
  • storage works – off-river and runoff harvesting storages (for example, on-farm dams, turkeys nest dams)
  • storage works – in-river storage (for example, weirs).

For applications for monitoring bores, or for artificial recharge into an aquifer visit Water Act 1912 licence below.

Water use approval

A water use approval allows you to use water on your land. Only certain uses require approval and include:

  • irrigation
  • town water supply
  • power generation.

A water use approval is not required for any activity which is authorised by an approval from another determining authority, for example, local government or a NSW Government department.

Water Act 1912 licence

There are a number of works which are not covered by the Water Management Act 2000. These works require licensing under the Water Act 1912.

Groundwater licences relate to aquifers and aquifer interference activities (Part 5 licence). Works include:

  • monitoring bores > 40 m in depth
  • artificial recharge into an aquifer.

Monitoring bores with a depth < 40 m are exempt from requiring a licence. Refer to Clause 39(1)(c) and 39(2) of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

Bore for domestic and stock right (also known as BLR bores)

This type of approval applies to bores only to be used for stock and domestic purposes. These are referred to as Basic Landholder Rights (BLR) bores. Rural landholders and rural industries must apply for BLR bores through WaterNSW. Department customers should use the application in the table below.

Amend an approval

Water supply work/use approval

A holder of a water supply work/use approval can apply to amend their approval to alter existing works, add additional works or, to request a condition review.

Inactive works

An approval holder can apply to amend their water supply work approval to specify that some or all of the works authorised by the approval are ‘inactive’, or to withdraw an inactive status.

For a work to be considered ‘inactive’, it must not be capable of taking water. Once marked as ‘inactive’, the approval will be amended to include a condition prohibiting the work from being used to take water.

A water supply work approval may be considered ‘inactive’ because:

  • the approval holder has stopped (either permanently or temporarily) carrying out the activity which required water supplies
  • they are taking water from a different water supply work
  • the water supply work was never installed, or
  • it negates the requirement to install mandatory metering equipment required by the non-urban water metering framework.

To withdraw an ‘inactive’ status, an approval holder must apply to remove the ‘inactive’ status and the condition from their approval which prohibits the work from being used to take water. Use the Water Assist tool to check which agency you will need to contact.

Extend an approval

The department sends out extension notices 60 days prior to the expiry of all approvals. The extension notice includes a cover letter and application form for extension. Another notice is sent 30 days prior to expiry.

If you require an extension, complete the form and return to waterlicensing.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

Note, if your approval expires before you submit an application for extension, the fees will change.

If you have not received an extension notice and your approval is within 60 days of expiry or has expired, use Water Assist to submit an enquiry.

How to apply

Completing and submitting your application

  1. Use the table below to download the application for the water access licence you require.
  2. Complete the application form. The guide for each form provides additional information to help you fill out the application.
  3. Email the completed application form and required documentation to waterlicensing.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Application form table

Application forms and registration processes differ between the department and WaterNSW. If you are a department customer, use the application forms in the table below.

Approval type Application form Supporting information
New approvals Water supply work and/or water use Application form PDF, 397.83 KBGuide PDF, 196.58 KB
Water Act 1912 licence Application form PDF, 296.94 KB
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) Application form PDF, 292.05 KBGuide PDF, 133.08 KB
Amend an approval Water supply work and/or water use Application form PDF, 358.74 KBGuide PDF, 193.16 KB
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) Application form PDF, 292.05 KBGuide PDF, 133.08 KB
Inactive works Application form PDF, 284.07 KBGuide PDF, 165.24 KB

Guide to searches required for applications

The department has made some changes to our water licence and approval application forms. The changes focus on providing greater clarity to applicants on what is required. The improved applications will help to reduce processing timeframes.

The new application forms now require applicant to complete and attach mandatory searches to support your application. The application form will identify which searches are required. Use this Guide to searches (PDF, 2528.76 KB) to help you complete the required searches. Searches may include:

  • Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) Web Services
  • NSW heritage – State Heritage Inventory
  • NSW BioNet Atlas search
  • Australian Government Protected Matters Search Tool – under the EPBC Act
  • EPA public register – contaminated land record of notices
  • MinView search – Regional NSW – Mining, Exploration & Geoscience.
NRAR officer chatting to landholder.

How to pay for your application

You can pay for your application by credit card or direct deposit. This is nominated on the application form.

Payment via credit card

After you have submitted your application form, the department will call you to process your payment. You will provide your credit card details via telephone.

Do not write your credit card details on your application form or any other correspondence you send to us. This is a security risk if your correspondence is intercepted by an unintended recipient.

Payment via direct deposit

Use the following details to make a direct deposit to the department:

Bank: Westpac Bank (Sydney)
Account name: DPIE - Industry Operating Account
BSB: 032 001
Account number: 169146
Reference: application reference number

Fee table

The fees indicated in the table below include the lodgement fee required for each application type, as well as additional fees which may be incurred where advertising or technical referral are required as part of the assessment. The department will contact customers to obtain additional fees where necessary.

Approval type Lodgement fee Additional fee (if applicable)
New approvals Water supply work and/or water use   
  Groundwater $2,052.55 $365.46 required for advertising
$2,675.64 required for technical referral
Pump $2,540.22 $567.19 required for advertising
Dam $2,513.57 $655.41 required for advertising
Water Act 1912 licence $151 non-artesian bore
$48 artesian bore
$2,052.55 required for technical referral
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) $938.83 $151.31 required for technical referral
Amend an approval Water supply work and/or water use $1,573.75 add/change works, use or condition
$186.95 administrative amendment
$2,675.64 required for technical referral
Inactive works $186.95 
Extend an approval Approval extension $372.39 before expiry
$688.23 after expiry

The table above contains the fees and charges for the department's water consent transactions consistent with the charges approved in Schedule 5, Table 12 of IPART's 2021 Final Determination on Water Administration Ministerial Corporation Maximum Prices for Water Management Services which apply from 1 July 2022.

The charges have been determined by IPART under the regulatory processes used by IPART to determine charges for the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation.

The table contains the circumstances under which the charges are payable and the amounts of the charges. These charges came into effect on 1 July 2022.

The fees and charges in the table may be payable in parts as the need for advertising and the need for groundwater assessment will be determined by the department following receipt of the application.

There are no discounts or surcharges for these charges.

These charges are being imposed by the department via an instrument of delegation.


Application fees are non-refundable for change of mind or where an application is not granted or refused.