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Licences

Water licensing and works approvals exemptions

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

Tweed River.

You don’t need to apply for a water access licence or a water supply work approval if an exemption applies.

Water licensing exemptions

The Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 specifies a number of water access licence exemptions. A summary of these exemptions is provided below. You should refer to the regulation for a full description of these exemptions, including the circumstances when the exemption applies, and any restrictions or limitations.

There are three main categories of works approval exemptions for water supply works:

  • construction and use of a water supply work
  • construction only
  • use only.

Exemptions for landholders

  • Collection of water from roofs in rainwater tanks by landholder
  • Dams for specific purposes
  • Dams or excavations located on a river or lake
  • Works in lakes which are mainly dry
  • Works which impound water
  • Domestic electricity generation by landholder

Exemptions for public authorities

  • Road construction and maintenance by road authorities
  • Construction and maintenance of rail infrastructure by transport authorities
  • Dust suppression by public authorities
  • Operation of hydro-electric power station
  • Basic human water needs
  • Environmental work construction

General exemptions that can apply to any person

  • Drought relief water carting for domestic consumption and stock watering
  • Hydrostatic testing of gas pipelines
  • Prospecting or fossicking for minerals or petroleum
  • Water bore testing
  • Exempt monitoring bores
  • Emergency safety measures
  • Establishment of sugar cane plantings.

Work approval exemptions

The Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 also specifies a number of water supply work approval exemptions. A summary of these exemptions is provided below. You should refer to the regulation for a full description of these exemptions, including the circumstances when the exemption applies, and any restrictions or limitations.

There are three main categories of works approval exemptions for water supply works:

  • construction and use of a water supply work
  • construction only
  • use only.

Exemptions for construction and use of a water supply work

  • Landholders with rainwater tanks
  • Landholders with dams for specific purposes
  • Landholders with dams or excavations located on a river or lake
  • Landholders with works that impound water
  • Landholders with works in lakes that are mainly dry
  • Exempt monitoring bores
  • Urgent basic human water needs
  • Emergency safety measures
  • Control or prevention of soil erosion.

Exemptions for water supply works – construction only

  • Prospecting or fossicking for minerals or petroleum
  • Water pipe to convey water from one place to another
  • Water reticulation work constructed on land that has a water use approval.

Exemptions for water supply works – use only

  • Prospecting or fossicking for minerals or petroleum
  • Works to convey or impound water that were in use before 1 July 2004
  • Water reticulation work to convey water to land that has a water use approval
  • Works used in connection with a hydro-electric power station
  • Water tankers used to convey water for dust suppression by a public authority.