A NSW Government website


How to apply for licences and approvals

Important information

WaterNSW is responsible for issuing most licences in NSW. For more information about where you should lodge your application, visit which water regulation body should I speak to?

If you are a water user, it is your responsibility to make sure you obtain all necessary licences and approvals before taking water or starting any work near a water source.

NRAR issues water access licences and associated approvals to larger water users such as irrigation corporations and government entities, while WaterNSW licenses rural landholders and businesses.

NRAR also issues all controlled activity approvals in the state, usually in concert with a development approval from your local council.

NRAR understands that water regulation legislation and requirements in NSW can be complex.

If you are taking or using surface or ground water, or you are undertaking an activity near a water source, it is your responsibility to make sure you follow the rules that manage water in NSW.

NRAR will work with you to ensure you have all the information you need to understand how to become and remain compliant.

We have developed NRAR Assist, a simple web-based tool, to help answer all your questions.

The tool will help you:

  • identify the correct government agency or entity for your enquiry or application
  • lodge an application for a water approval or licence
  • report a suspicious or unauthorised activity
  • ask a question.
NRAR Assist

Please use NRAR Assist first. If you can’t find the answer to your question, NRAR Assist will help you to submit a specific enquiry. Specific enquiries are then referred to an NRAR officer, who will help you further.

NRAR Assist

NRAR Assist, a simple web-based tool, to help provide you with answers to all your questions.

NRAR Assist

Water licensing and approvals

Find information on the water licensing and work approval processes.

Water licences work approvals and water use approvals

Controlled activity approvals

Find out what approvals you need to carry out works on waterfront land (‘controlled activities’) and how to undertake this activity.


Flood works approvals

Learn more about flood works approvals and their purpose, and how to apply for a new approval or to amend an existing one.