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How to apply for a water access licence

Information on all water licences, including how to apply, and the fees for each.

Application transaction types

The application form you submit will be determined by the type of Water Access Licence (WAL) you require. The 3 different types of WALs are listed below.

Zero share

This type of water access licence is granted with zero share component. Entitlement will need to be transferred to the allocation account of this type of WAL before water can be taken. Visit WaterNSW for more information about WAL dealings.

Specific Purpose Access Licence (SPAL)

This type of water access licence is granted with a specific purpose. Examples include:

  • local water utility and town water supply
  • domestic consumption
  • Aboriginal cultural or commercial purposes.

Controlled allocation

This type of water access licence can only be granted if you have acquired the right to apply through a controlled allocation process. Visit Controlled allocations - Water in New South Wales for further information.

Water access licence dealings

WaterNSW is responsible for managing the trade of water access licences, licence entitlements, water allocations and other licence amendments for all licence holders, including the department’s customers. Visit WaterNSW for more information.

How to apply for exemptions

For some entities, water licences, water supply works and water uses are exempt from needing approvals. Find out which under Exemptions in the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 (PDF, 190.95 KB).

Drought works

Relevant public authorities can apply to the department for an exemption under clause 39A of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

Water licensing and works approvals exemptions

Learn more on exemptions, and when you won’t need to apply for water licence or work approvals.

Emergency works exemption

An emergency works exemption is available under the Water Management General Regulation 2018 (the regulation) from 26 February 2021.

Groundwater WAL exemptions for 3ML and Botany Sands

Two new WAL exemptions are now available under the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

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. There is a guide for each application form which provides additional information to help you fill out the form.
  3. Email the completed application form and required documentation to waterlicensing.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au.

Things to remember

You can complete the form electronically or by hand. For applications completed by hand, please use capital letters and write with a blue or black pen.

Both electronic and hardcopy applications must be signed in accordance with the instructions provided in each application form.

Application forms

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

Type of application Application form Supporting information
Zero share Application form (PDF, 279.84 KB)Guide (PDF, 146.27 KB)
Specific Purpose Access Licence (SPAL) Application form (PDF, 281.94 KB)Guide (PDF, 198.59 KB)
Controlled allocation Application form (PDF, 195.33 KB)Guide (PDF, 154.11 KB)

If you need to apply to change your WAL by way of a dealing, contact WaterNSW.

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, an  officer from 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 are for new water access licences only. Contact WaterNSW for fees and information related to dealings and other amendment transactions.

Type of application Lodgement fee Additional fee
Zero share $1,217.80 
Specific Purpose Access Licence (SPAL) $2,726.26
No fee for Aboriginal commercial, Aboriginal community development or Aboriginal cultural purposes.
Required for technical referral
Controlled allocation $1,596.46 

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.