Domestic and stock rights

Domestic and stock rights

Construction and use of basic landholder rights (BLR) bores

Under the Water Management Act 2000 (WMA), landholders can take water under basic landholder rights. Owners or occupiers of land which overlies an aquifer can take water for domestic consumption or stock watering.

  • Domestic consumption means the use of water for normal household purposes in domestic premises which are situated on the land.
  • Stock watering means the watering of stock animals being raised on the land. It does not include raising stock animals on an intensive commercial basis where the animals are housed or kept in feedlots or buildings.

Approvals required

To access water under basic landholder rights, landholders must obtain a water supply works approval to construct a bore, well or spearpoint. It is an offence under the WMA to construct or use a water supply work without an approval. Licensing groundwater works, and monitoring the levels of extraction, helps to sustainably manage groundwater sources, protecting their quality and the ecosystems that depend on them.

Agencies involved

WaterNSW is responsible for processing most water supply work approvals and issuing the approvals. Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR) is responsible for licencing larger water users e.g. state significant developments, mining operations, irrigations corporations and government entities. NRAR is also responsible for ensuring compliance with legislation and regulations.

The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) may in limited circumstances, undertake a hydrogeological assessment of the proposed bore and location. This ensures no more than minimal harm is caused to the water source and surrounding ecology.

Health warning

The landholder is responsible for ensuring that any water taken under a basic landholder right is safe and suitable to use. NSW Health warns that water from an aquifer can be contaminated with micro-organisms. This water should not be used for drinking or cooking without appropriate treatment.

How do I get approval to construct a BLR bore?

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Monday 18 October