Check out our new Drillers Portal
As a part of our ongoing improvements to your experience, we are pleased to announce the release of our new Drillers Portal. This portal provides the ability to enter and submit a Bore Construction Report (BCR), also referred to as a Form A, via our online interactive portal. Access anywhere, anytime through your mobile, tablet or computer.
WaterNSW is responsible for managing groundwater in NSW and regulates drilling of water bores in NSW under the Water Act 1912 and the Water Management Act 2000 (section 346).
WaterNSW has two main functions – licensing of NSW drillers and capturing bore construction information for all water bores drilled in NSW.
Landholders considering accessing groundwater must first obtain a water supply work approval from WaterNSW before any bore drilling takes place. Landholders must engage a driller holding a NSW driller's licence of the correct class to construct the bore. Drillers must sight the landholder's current work approval before drilling a bore and must comply with any relevant conditions.
For more information, see FAQ - Drilling A Bore.
Licensing of drillers
Licensing drillers who carry out bore construction, decommissioning, or work on existing bores, ensures protection of the groundwater resource from contamination, deterioration, and undue depletion. This preserves the long-term economic production of groundwater.
A driller's licence classification system relating to aquifer types is in place to protect the resource and guide the skills and knowledge required by drillers. WaterNSW issues driller's licences to construct and service bores under the following classes:
- NSW Class 1 licence allows the construction of water level and water quality monitoring bores including spear points, dewatering, geotechnical drilling, and piezometers.
- NSW Class 2 licence allows the construction of sub-artesian stock and domestic supply bores up to 152 mm nominal bore casing.
- NSW Class 3 licence allows the activities of a Class 2 licence and also allows the construction of sub-artesian, screened and developed bores (with open hole, slotted casing or screen completion methods, including the use of a formation stabiliser, but not including gravel filter envelope completion techniques). Does not require a Screens and Gravel Pack Certificate.
- NSW Class 4 licence allows the activities of a Class 3 licence and also allows the use of gravel filter envelope completion techniques Requires a Screens and Gravel Pack Certificate.
- NSW Class 5 licence allows the activities of a Class 2 licence and also allows the construction of flowing and non-flowing bores that penetrate the sandstone aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin and the construction of flowing bores elsewhere in NSW.
- NSW Class 6 licence allows the activities of both a Class 4 licence and a Class 5 licence.
A driller’s licence also specifies drilling methods which may be used e.g. auger, jetting, cable tool, rotary air, rotary mud, or other methods as specified.
Penalties may be imposed for illegal bore drilling which include licence cancellation and/or prosecution. Drillers must hold a drilling licence and are only permitted to drill the type of bore specified in the licence class. It is an offence for a driller to drill a bore that is outside the licensed class.
Driller's Licence Fee
The fee to submit an application for a driller's licence will be $387 per application.
Poor drilling practices and poorly constructed/failed bores contribute to groundwater misuse, wastage and degradation through uncontrolled bore flow or contamination of aquifers. Materials and surface water can also cause groundwater contamination through bore holes.
Water sharing plans contain conditions that apply to water supply work construction, including bores. A driller is at risk of prosecution if a bore is constructed without the landholder first obtaining a valid work approval. The work approval specifies the location of the work and that the work must be sealed off from all other water sources.
It is a mandatory condition that the driller constructs the bore to the minimum requirements set out in the Minimum Construction Requirements for Water Bores in Australia guidelines, available from the Australian Drilling Industry Association. The work must prevent contamination in and between aquifers and prevent flow of saline water between aquifers.
Drillers must conduct a pumping test and accurately record details of the initial (pre-pumping) water level, the pumping rate and all drawdown levels against time, as specified in the DPIE pumping test requirements. A pumping test will allow determination of the safe yield, optimum pump rate and pump depth for the bore.
Bore Construction Report (BCR) - Previously known as ‘Form A’
Data gained from drilling is collated in a database of groundwater works providing real time information on location, quantities and quality of water and local geology. WaterNSW collects data on drilling via a BCR, which replaces a Form A. These should be submitted by drillers within 60 days for each bore they drill.
WaterNSW has launched a new Drillers Portal to reduce the burden of completing a paper based Form A, which will be discontinued. Drillers are invited to register on the portal at driller.waternsw.com.au.
By using the portal, drillers will have an up-to-date picture of bores in their district and be able to provide more accurate advice to landholders. The portal also allows for a post-drilling report to provide to the landholder. Records on existing groundwater works, including bores, wells and excavations can also be found at Australian Groundwater Explorer.
WaterNSW is continuing to expand the capability of the Drillers Portal as part of our continued investment in self-service and digital tools for our customers and communities. We value feedback that will help us improve our service to our customers and community and we plan to further develop the portal. Feedback can be provided via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.