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How to comply

Bore extraction limits

A bore extraction limit is the maximum amount of water you are approved to take using a bore from a groundwater source. Your limit applies even if the water allocation in your water access licence is higher than your bore extraction limit.

Each bore has its own set of unique conditions. If your bore has an extraction limit, you will find it in the conditions section of your water supply work approval.

Why are bore extraction limits important?

Limits on bore extraction help protect complex and fragile groundwater sources from contamination and depletion. They also prevent the aquifer from deteriorating.

Limiting the water taken from at-risk groundwater sources helps protect the long-term sustainability of water in NSW.

If you exceed your bore extraction limit, you risk reducing the water available for your neighbours and the environment.

Over-extraction can also affect groundwater-dependent vegetation and ecosystems.

What happens if you don't comply?

It is against the law to exceed your bore extraction limit. Individuals found guilty of breaking these laws may have to pay up to 5 times the value of the water they took illegally. They may also face prison terms of up to 2 years. Higher maximum penalties apply to corporations.

We can suspend or cancel licences and approvals for serious breaches of their terms and conditions.

We can also issue stop-work orders for unlawful water take or issue legal directions that require the removal of any unlawful works.

Case study: Riverina prosecution

Two Murrumbidgee landholders were found to have over-extracted more than 500 megalitres from bores on their Coleambally property – an amount that could fill more than 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

What you need to do

Know your bore extraction limit

Check the conditions of your approval to find out if your bore has an extraction limit.

Your water supply work approval or combined approval can be found using the NSW Water Register.

Fit your bore with an accurate meter

Meters help measure the water take of your bore and are required for most bores under the non-urban water metering laws.

Find out more about water metering rules in NSW.

Monitor and record your water take

If your bore is subject to the non-urban water metering requirements, you can monitor your water usage via the WaterNSW online water account system (iWAS).

If you do not meet the requirements of the new metering framework then you may be required to monitor and record your water use in a logbook.