Controlled allocations

In water sources that are not fully committed, the right to apply for new water access licences can be provided through a controlled allocation order. In fully committed water sources, water access licences can only be obtained through the water market – that is purchasing from existing licence holders.

What is a controlled allocation of access licences?

A controlled allocation provides a right to acquire a water access licence for a specified water source by auction, tender or other means specified in an order published in the NSW Government Gazette.

The process of obtaining an approval so you can take the water is separate to acquiring a water access licence through a controlled allocation. It will incur additional fees and require an impact assessment that may affect how much water you can take and use.

For more information on the legal provisions for controlled allocations see section 65 of the Water Management Act 2000.

Strategy for the controlled allocation of groundwater

The Strategy for the controlled allocation of groundwater (PDF, 33.08 KB) applies to the October 2022 controlled allocation. It provides a framework for groundwater-specific controlled allocations and the way minimum prices were set for that Order.

Register your interest

Registrations can only be received during the period nominated in the controlled allocation orders.

To find controlled allocation opportunities that are open, visit Registration of Interest.

Enquiries and notification of future registrations of interest periods

Please send any enquiries or requests to be notified of upcoming registration of interest periods to: controlled.allocation@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Those who ‘request to be notified’ will be sent an email once details of an upcoming registration of interest are publicly released.

Notice of registration of interest periods will also be:

  • Posted on social media (Twitter).

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Outcomes of controlled allocation orders

2022 (March) Controlled allocation order (Various water sources)

This order made water available in 55 water sources. It released entitlements that had been surrendered to the department and was the first controlled allocation order to include surface water sources through a tender process.


For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Water Sources) 2022 Report.

2021 Controlled allocation order

This order made water available in 47 groundwater sources. It made 5% of the unassigned water available in each specified groundwater source through a tender process. For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) 2021 Report.

2020 Controlled allocation order

This order made water available in 43 groundwater sources. It made 5% of the unassigned water available in each specified groundwater source through a tender process.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) 2020 Report.

2019 Controlled allocation amendment order

This amending order was an extension of the 2017 order.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) 2017 Report.

2018 Controlled allocation amendment order

This amending order was an extension of the 2017 order.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) 2017 Report.

2017 Controlled allocation order

This order made water available in 42 groundwater sources. It made greater than 5% of the unassigned water available in each specified groundwater source over a three-year period through a tender process.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) 2017 Report.

2014 Controlled allocation order

This order made water available in 20 groundwater sources. It made 5% of the unassigned water available in each specified groundwater source through a tender process.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) (No 1) 2014 Report.

2013 Controlled allocation order

This order made water available in 20 groundwater sources. It made 5% of the unassigned water available in each specified groundwater source through a tender process.

For details of water bought go to Outcomes of Controlled Allocation Order (Various Groundwater Sources) (No 1) 2013 Report.

2009 Controlled allocation order

This order made a small amount of water available in the Great Artesian Basin through an auction process. The water was made available as a result of a small amount of water saved through the Cap and Pipe the Bores Program.

For details of the process and water bought go to NSW Great Artesian Basin: Final report.