Domestic and stock rights

Domestic and stock rights

Under the Water Management Act 2000, an owner or occupier of a landholding is entitled to take water from a river, estuary or lake which fronts their land or from an aquifer which is underlying their land for domestic consumption and stock watering, without the need for a Water Access Licence (WAL). This is a domestic and stock right.

While owners and occupiers of landholdings do not need a WAL to take water under a domestic and stock right, they still need to obtain a water supply work approval to construct a bore or dam.

Water taken under a domestic and stock right may be used for normal household purposes around the house and garden and/or 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.

A WAL is required for water taken for commercial activities such as irrigation, aquaculture, feedlots, piggeries, poultry farms, recreation and golf/sporting areas.

When do domestic and stock rights apply?

Licensing rights domestic stock

Do I need an approval and/or WAL for domestic and stock use of water?

If your land fronts a river or lake or overlies an aquifer and you want to take water from the river, lake or estuary for domestic or stock use then domestic and stock rights apply. You do not require an approval or WAL to take water in this situation.

If your land fronts a river or lake or overlies an aquifer and you want to take water from the aquifer for domestic or stock use you do not need a WAL to take groundwater for domestic or stock use. However, you must obtain a water supply work approval to construct a bore or well.

If your land does not front a river or lake and does not overlie an aquifer and you want to build a small dam for domestic or stock use, harvestable rights may apply in this situation. You do not need an approval or WAL if the dam is less than the maximum harvestable right, or if in addition to existing dams on the property, the harvestable right is not exceeded.

If your land does not front a river or lake and does not overlie an aquifer and you want to take water from a river, lake or aquifer for domestic or stock use you must obtain a water supply work approval (and in some circumstances a water access licence) before taking water or installing a pump.

Note: Rainwater tanks do not require a licence or consent from WaterNSW, although some local government authorities may require development consent.

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Friday 22 November