Tracking groundwater extraction against extraction limits

The amount of groundwater that can be extracted from a groundwater source is limited. While the amount extracted by all water users varies each year, on average it cannot exceed the extraction limits (i.e. the long-term average annual extraction limit or the Sustainable Diversion Limit).

Before July each year, the department assesses if average extraction over the previous five years has exceeded the long-term average annual extraction limit plus a buffer (called the compliance trigger).

For each inland groundwater source, the dashboard shows for the current water year:

  • volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger (in ML, calculated annually)
  • volume remaining to be extracted before reaching the compliance trigger (in ML, calculated throughout the year)
  • the likelihood that access to groundwater may be reduced in the next water year.

(Note: this assessment is limited by the extraction data available at the time)

The likelihood of compliance being triggered in the current water year has been estimated, the likelihood rating is based on an analysis of available water and average or actual use compared to the volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger. The ratings are:

UNLIKELYVolume available in water accounts is less than the volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger
LOWThe 5-year average extraction or actual extraction is <50% of the volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger
MEDIUMThe 5-year average extraction or actual extraction is 50 – 80% of the volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger
HIGHThe 5-year average extraction or actual extraction is >80% of the volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger
TRIGGEREDActual extraction is equal to or greater than volume that if extracted will reach the compliance trigger


If the compliance trigger in a groundwater source is reached, access to groundwater may need to be reduced by:

  • reducing the amount of water going into accounts (known as an allocation or available water determination); and/or
  • reducing the amount of water that can be taken or traded from accounts (known as a maximum water account debit), or
  • a combination of these methods.

We are seek your comments on these methods for specific water sources. For further information on consultation to manage extraction to limits see Managing groundwater extraction to extraction limits.

This dashboard uses the best available information at the time. The department will announce available water determinations and maximum water account debit on 1 July each year after considering final assessments.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing and may not be accurate, current or complete. The State of New South Wales (including the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment), the author and the publisher take no responsibility, and will accept no liability, for the accuracy, currency, reliability or correctness of any information included in the dashboard (including material provided by third parties). Readers should make their own inquiries and rely on their own advice when making decisions related to material contained in this publication.

The NSW Water Register provides a range of information including official accounted usage, share component, water made available, trade, water allocations and environmental water.