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Water licensing and approvals

How to apply for a water supply work and water use approval

Application transaction types

The application form you submit will be determined by the type of water supply work or water use approval you require.

New approvals

Water supply work approval

A water supply work approval allows you to construct and use a work which takes water from a river, lake or aquifer. The following category of works require a water supply work approval:

  • extraction works – groundwater
  • pumps – surface water
  • channels for diverting or conveying water, regulators or pipes
  • storage works – off-river and runoff harvesting storages (for example, on-farm dams, turkeys nest dams)
  • storage works – in-river storage (for example, weirs).

For applications for monitoring bores, or for artificial recharge into an aquifer visit Water Act 1912 licence below.

Water use approval

A water use approval allows you to use water on your land. Only certain uses require approval and include:

  • irrigation
  • town water supply
  • power generation.

A water use approval is not required for any activity which is authorised by an approval from another determining authority, for example, local government or a NSW Government department.

Water Act 1912 licence

There are a number of works which are not covered by the Water Management Act 2000. These works require licensing under the Water Act 1912.

Groundwater licences relate to aquifers and aquifer interference activities (Part 5 licence). Works include:

  • monitoring bores > 40 m in depth
  • artificial recharge into an aquifer.

Monitoring bores with a depth < 40 m are exempt from requiring a licence. Refer to Clause 39(1)(c) and 39(2) of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

Bore for domestic and stock right (also known as BLR bores)

This type of approval applies to bores only to be used for stock and domestic purposes. These are referred to as Basic Landholder Rights (BLR) bores. Rural landholders and rural industries must apply for BLR bores through WaterNSW.

Amend an approval

Water supply work/use approval

A holder of a water supply work/use approval can apply to amend their approval to alter existing works, add additional works or, to request a condition review.

Inactive works

An approval holder can apply to amend their water supply work approval to specify that some or all of the works authorised by the approval are ‘inactive’, or to withdraw an inactive status.

For a work to be considered ‘inactive’, it must not be capable of taking water. Once marked as ‘inactive’, the approval will be amended to include a condition prohibiting the work from being used to take water.

A water supply work approval may be considered ‘inactive’ because:

  • the approval holder has stopped (either permanently or temporarily) carrying out the activity which required water supplies
  • they are taking water from a different water supply work
  • the water supply work was never installed, or
  • it negates the requirement to install mandatory metering equipment required by the non-urban water metering framework.

To withdraw an ‘inactive’ status, an approval holder must apply to NRAR to remove the ‘inactive’ status and the condition from their approval which prohibits the work from being used to take water.

Extend an approval

NRAR sends out extension notices 60 days prior to the expiry of all approvals. The extension notice includes a cover letter and application form for extension. Another notice is sent 30 days prior to expiry.

If you require an extension, complete the form and return to nrar.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au. Note, if your approval expires before you submit an application for extension, the fees will change.

If you have not received an extension notice and your approval is within 60 days of expiry or has expired, use NRAR Assist to submit an enquiry.

How to apply

Completing and submitting your application

  1. Use the table below to download the application for the water access licence you require.
  2. Complete the application form. The guide for each form provides additional information to help you fill out the application.
  3. Email the completed application form and required documentation to nrar.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Things to remember

You can complete the form electronically or by hand. For applications completed by hand, write in capital letters and use a blue or black pen.

Both electronic and hardcopy applications must be signed.

Application form table

Application forms and registration processes differ between NRAR and Water NSW. If you are an NRAR customer, use the application forms in the table below.

Approval type Application form Supporting information
New approvals Water supply work and/or water use Application form PDF, 325.52 KBGuide PDF, 517.92 KB
Water Act 1912 licenceApplication form PDF, 622.15 KB
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) Application form PDF, 331.34 KBGuide PDF, 422.85 KB
Amend an approval Water supply work and/or water use Application form PDF, 325.52 KBGuide PDF, 517.92 KB
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) Application form PDF, 331.34 KBGuide PDF, 422.85 KB
Inactive works Application form PDF, 303.49 KBGuide PDF, 491.81 KB
NRAR officer chatting to landholder.

How to pay for your application

You can pay for your application by credit card or direct deposit. This is nominated on the application form.

Payment via credit card

After you have submitted your application form, an NRAR officer will call you to process your payment. You will provide your credit card details via telephone.

Do not write your credit card details on your application form or any other correspondence you send to us. This is a security risk if your correspondence is intercepted by an unintended recipient.

Payment via direct deposit

Use the following details to make a direct deposit to NRAR:

Bank: Westpac Bank (Sydney)
Account name: Natural Resources Access Regulator
BSB: 032 001
Account number: 18-1786
Reference: application reference number

Fee table

The fees indicated in the table below include the lodgement fee required for each application type, as well as additional fees which may be incurred where advertising or technical referral are required as part of the assessment. NRAR officers will contact customers to obtain additional fees where necessary.

Approval type Lodgement fee Additional fee (if applicable)
New approvals Water supply work and/or water use   
  Groundwater $1,952.95 $347.73 required for advertising
$2,545.80 required for technical referral
Pump $2,416.96 $539.66 required for advertising
Dam $2,391.60 $623.60 required for advertising
Water Act 1912 licence $151 non-artesian bore
$48 artesian bore
$2,545.80 required for technical referral
Bore for domestic and stock right (i.e., BLR bores) $893.27 $143.97 required for technical referral
Amend an approval Water supply work and/or water use $1,497.38 add/change works, use or condition
$177.88 administrative amendment
$2,545.79 required for technical referral
Inactive works $177.88  
Extend an approval Approval extension $354.32 before expiry
$654.83 after expiry

The table above contains the fees and charges for NRAR water consent transactions consistent with the charges approved in Schedule 5, Table 12 of IPART's 2021 Final Determination on Water Administration Ministerial Corporation Maximum Prices for Water Management Services which apply from 1 October 2021.

The charges have been determined by IPART under the regulatory processes used by IPART to determine charges for the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation.

The table contains the circumstances under which the charges are payable and the amounts of the charges. These charges came into effect on 1 October 2021.

The fees and charges in the table may be payable in parts as the need for advertising and the need for groundwater assessment will be determined by NRAR following receipt of the application.

There are no discounts or surcharges for these charges.

These charges are being imposed by NRAR via an instrument of delegation.


Application fees are non-refundable for change of mind or where an application is not granted or refused.

Rural landholders and rural industries

WaterNSW is your one stop shop for licensing services. This includes water supply work and water use approvals for rural landholders and rural industries.

Visit WaterNSW