Frequently asked questions

Water supply work approval exemptions for public authorities during drought

Recent drought conditions have placed significant pressures on water utilities to maintain water supplies to their local communities. The NSW Government recognises that in serious drought conditions, water utilities may need to seek additional sources of water.

In order to take water from additional sources, water utilities generally need to construct a new water supply work, such as a water bore, dam or water pump, or re-activate a decommissioned work. These new works require authorisation under the Water Management Act 2000, unless an exemption applies.

In a drought, there is often no time to apply and have approved a water supply work because additional water is required urgently.

An exemption under clause 39A of the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 responds to this situation by allowing prompt construction and use of water supply works by a public authority in order to supply water for critical needs in times of drought.

Works may require assessment and licensing under other legislation to authorise construction. In addition, the public authority will need to ensure a relevant water access licence (WAL) or an exemption applies prior to taking water from any work constructed under the exemption.

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the exemption.

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