Water supply work and use approvals

Water supply work and use approvals

Water supply work approvals

A water supply work approval authorises its holder to construct and use a specified water supply work at a specified location. Approvals cannot be traded to another property or location.

Approvals may be granted by WaterNSW to construct and operate water supply works such as pumps, bores, spear points or wells. Each approval includes conditions to minimise adverse impacts.

Metering requirements

Metering requirements apply to water supply work approvals for water supply works that meet the metering thresholds under the new non-urban metering framework. For more information, go to NSW non-urban water metering framework.

Use the NSW Water Register to search for information about:

  • the status of water use approvals granted by WaterNSW, including conditions
  • approval applications.

Water use approvals

A water use approval authorises its holder to use water for a particular purpose, such as irrigation, at a particular location. It may also authorise the use within NSW of water taken from a water source outside NSW. Approvals cannot be traded to another property or location.

Each approval includes conditions to minimise adverse impacts.

Use the NSW Water Register to search for information about:

  • the status of water use approvals granted by WaterNSW, including conditions
  • approval applications.

Applying for an approval for water supply works and/or water use

For the application and guide for approval for water supply works and/or water use, go to Applications and fees.

A water use approval is required to use water on land for all purposes except when exercising basic landholder rights.

You also need approval to construct and use all water supply works to:

  • extract water from a river (for example via a pump), unless you are taking water under a basic landholder right (although an approval is required to construct a dam or water bore regardless of whether it is for a basic landholder right)
  • extract water from a groundwater body (for example via a bore)
  • capture more rainwater run-off than your harvestable right (for example in a farm dam)
  • store water taken from a river or aquifer, in tanks or off-river storages
  • convey water to another location via irrigation channels
  • divert water away from an area, via banks or levees, includes floodplain banks
  • hold back water in a river, via a weir or in a dam other than under a harvestable right.

To simplify water management for individual properties, if both a water supply work approval and a water use approval are required, then these are combined into a single approval.

The application forms require information to assess whether the work may have significant impacts on the environment or whether particular conditions to minimise any impacts may be required.

Application fees for water supply work and water use approvals vary, depending on the type of work. For more information, go to Applications and fees or contact the Customer Helpdesk on 1300 662 077 or email Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.au.

Are there exceptions?

When taking water under your basic landholder right (for example for domestic and stock purposes) you do not need a water use approval.

You do not need a water supply work approval for:

  • pumps, pipes, troughs or tanks to take and store water from a river under a basic landholder right
  • dams within the maximum dam capacity under the harvestable right for your property
  • conveyance works, provided they are located wholly within land that is subject to a water use approval.

However, you still need a water supply work approval to construct a dam in a river or to construct a bore, well, spear point or excavation under the domestic and stock right.

Other works may be exempt under the Water Management (General) Regulations Regulation 2011 or NSW planning legislation.

Applying for a new or amended approval for a water supply work to take groundwater under a domestic and stock right

What is my domestic and stock right?
If you own or occupy a landholding above an aquifer, you are entitled to take groundwater for domestic consumption and for stock watering. This is your domestic and stock right.

Water taken under a domestic and stock right may be used for normal household purposes around the house and garden, and for drinking water for stock. It cannot be used for irrigating fodder crops for stock, washing down in a dairy or machinery shed, intensive livestock operations (such as feedlots, piggeries or battery chickens), aquaculture or for commercial purposes (including caravan parks or large-scale bed and breakfast accommodation) other than for the personal use of the proprietors.

While you do not need a Water Access Licence (WAL) to take this water, landholders and occupiers still need to obtain a water supply work approval to construct and use a water bore.

Apply for a new approval for a water supply work to take groundwater under a domestic and stock right

You can apply for a new approval either online or by using a hard copy form:

Apply to amend an existing approval for a water supply work to take groundwater under a domestic and stock right

All applicants must apply to amend an existing approval using a hard copy form.

Aspects to consider before lodging an application for an approval

A pre-application meeting with a Water Regulation Officer is recommended to discuss the proposed activity, likely impacts, the application process and the information required. The pre-application meeting is a free service. To arrange a meeting, contact the Customer Helpdesk on 1300 662 077 or email Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.au.

Applicants also need to demonstrate that they have secure tenure over the land where the work is to be located or where the water is to be used. Secure tenure includes:

  • ownership, or anticipated ownership within a reasonable time of submitting your application
  • an easement
  • permissive occupancy, lease or licence.

What happens after WaterNSW receives the application?

Applications will be assessed according to WaterNSW assessment procedures and guidelines.

Applications for the following types of approvals may need to be advertised by WaterNSW:

  • works taking water from river
  • bores (other than those solely for basic landholder rights)
  • works that impound water in a water source for example in-river dams and weirs
  • works constructed and used to capture rainwater run-off
  • water use such as irrigation.

WaterNSW will either determine to grant this application with appropriate conditions or refuse it. Applicants will be advised in writing of the determination and, if granted, a water use or water supply works statement will also be issued.

What are the key features of the approval statement?

The main features on the statement are:

  • Types of approval: The approval may be for water supply works or water use, or a combined approval for both works and use.
  • Expiry date: Water supply works and water use approvals are generally issued for up to 10 years. A water supply work approval for a bore used solely for accessing water to which the holder is entitled as a basic landholder right (other than water from the Great Artesian Basin) has effect until it is cancelled.
  • Water use: Lists the land where water may be used and the purpose for which water may be used, for example irrigation.
  • Authorised water supply works: Lists the work type, the parcel of land where the work is located, the water source and zone from which the work extracts or captures water.
  • Nominated works: Identifies the WAL linked to the work for the purpose of taking water.
  • Conditions: Each water supply works and water use approval has conditions specified in relevant water management plans (for example local water sharing plan). The approval may also have conditions that are specific to the particular approval and location.

What happens after I receive my water supply work approval?

The approval will allow you to construct a work up to a certain capacity or size and at a specified location described in the approval.

If the water supply work approval is for a bore, your responsibility is to:

  • ensure that the works are drilled by a person who holds a current driller's licence issued by WaterNSW. Drillers are required to carry their licence with them
  • provide the driller with a copy of the approval to construct the bore and conditions sheets so that they are aware of any special construction requirements. WaterNSW strongly advises that you obtain a written agreement from the driller for the work to be undertaken.

WaterNSW recommends 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 website.

A copy of Form A - Particulars of completed work (PDF, 457.99 KB) is provided with approvals for a water supply work. As part of their licence requirements, drillers must complete this form (including details of the location of the bore on your property, construction details of the bore, as well as information on the quality of the bore water). You must send the Form A to WaterNSW, together with any other additional information required in the water supply works approval, within two months of completion of the bore.

Do I need a pumping test to be carried out on my bore?

Test pumping of your new bore allows the safe yield of the bore to be determined. That is, the optimum pumping rate that can be achieved without significant drawdown impacts. The information obtained from test pumping also allows pump suppliers to recommend a suitably sized pump for your bore, as well as advising on its appropriate depth of placement.

Following completion of a bore for domestic and stock use, test pumping at a constant rate is recommended for a minimum duration of six hours as described in the guidelines, Minimum Construction Requirements for Water Bores in Australia, available from the Australian Drilling Industry Association website and the Australian Standard AS 2368-1990 Test Pumping of Water Wells.

In the case of bores for irrigation, industrial, recreation or other commercial purposes located in the coastal management area of the state, it is recommended that a hydrogeological consultant is engaged to manage a longer term pumping test in accordance with the Coastal groundwater – test pumping groundwater assessment guidelines for bore licence applications (PDF, 705.36 KB).

Other specific requirements apply for licences in inland areas. Contact a Water Regulation Officer at your local WaterNSW office for further advice.

Extending a water supply work and/or use approval

Letters to approval holders to notify them about extending an approval are posted by WaterNSW before the expiry date of an approval.

Many approval holders can apply online to extend their approval. If your notification letter includes a personal application number, you can use our Water Applications Online service to apply and pay online to extend your approval.

Read more about applying and paying online, including frequently asked questions.

If your notification letter does not include this number, you will need to fill in the hard copy application form posted with your notification letter.

What happens if the holders of an approval change?

If an existing approval holder/s wants to extend an approval but the approval holders have changed, the records for the approval held by WaterNSW will first need to be updated with the new holders' details. Charges that may relate to the approval for future water use may then be directed to the correct holder/s.

If you are an existing approval holder or are no longer the holder of an approval, contact us for advice on the requirements to amend an approval.

Loading

56.0
Friday 19 April
-0.4
1,445,866 ML
2,581,850 ML
10,203 ML
1,458 ML
-10,807 ML
Friday 19 April