Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Everything you want to know about ordering water, water licences and water sharing plans.

The best way to submit your water order is using WaterNSW’s water accounting system (iWAS). You can register for iWAS online or by telephoning our customer helpdesk on 1300 662 077. Placing orders via iWAS are an efficient way to do your business and helps ensure you submit a compliant order.

If you are unable to access iWAS to complete a water order, please call our help desk on 1300 622 077 to be sent a form.

Make sure you submit your order by 8am to ensure your orders are included in the daily dam release.

In order to calculate daily releases from dams across the state, customers are required to place water orders in advance, based on lag days. Lag days is the term used to  describe the number of days it takes for a required release to travel from the dam to the pump site.

The Water Management Act 2000 specifies that water orders are a legal requirement. Failure to order water is in breach of licence conditions and compliance action can be taken.

You can lodge  your water trades via email to or fax to (03) 8668 1154. Click on the link to download an application form.

DPI Water is the water resource manager and policy maker. They develop natural resource management policy frameworks and conduct activities related to water management, water quality, salinity, soils, vegetation and environmental sustainability. DPI Water also prepares water sharing plans as the basic water resource policy document for catchments across the State. WaterNSW delivers water in accordance with these water sharing plans.

The responsibility for delivering allocated water to licensees lies with WaterNSW. To deliver allocated water, WaterNSW manages a portfolio of assets, including dams and weir structures. WaterNSW receives water orders from customers and coordinates releases from the dams to meet these orders. To ensure efficient delivery of water to all customers, WaterNSW coordinates water ordering, collects water usage figures, uses water-use modelling and monitors river and dam levels to enable real-time response. WaterNSW also plays a key role in coordinating and managing flood operations.

Water sharing plans (WSP) determine the water sharing rules for river catchments and groundwater zones – ie how much water goes to users and how much to the environment. WSP have been gazetted in eight regulated river valleys; Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray-Lower Darling, Hunter and more recently, Border Rivers. Water sharing rules are clearly stated in the WSP, including the environmental flow rules for each valley.

Water licences, the right to a certain ‘share’ of water, are issued by DPI Water. There are three types of licence: high security (guaranteed when water  available, eg local government for town water supply or permanent plantings); general security (not guaranteed, eg irrigation licences); and supplementary (previously known as off allocation and in some areas high flow). Licences state a share component in megalitres or shares that determines the amount of water available to licences during the year through available water determinations.

At the start  of each water year (1 July), DPI Water determines how much water is available for use in each valley. All essential requirements (in most cases, two years supplies for towns and other high security requirements) are reserved first. Any water remaining is then allocated to water users as a percentage of entitlement. This percentage is known as the available water determination (AWD). It used to be called the allocation announcement.

The AWD is the volume of water available to licence holders for that year. For example, if a licence is for 1,000 megalitres and DPI Water announces a 0.75ML/share AWD, the licensee can only use 750 megalitres during the year. Additional AWDs are announced during the year if more water becomes available.


Thursday 28 May
2,125,031 ML
2,596,150 ML
9,070 ML
1,296 ML
6,335 ML
Thursday 28 May