Fishing at Brunswick River, New South Wales.

This register provides information on environmental water holdings for water users and the general public.

The Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) (chapter 2, part 1, division 2, section 8) defines environmental water as comprising:

  • water that is committed by management plans for fundamental ecosystem health or other specified environmental purposes, either generally or at specified times or in specified circumstances, and that cannot to the extent committed be taken or used for any other purpose (planned environmental water).
  • water (licensed environmental water) that is:
    • committed by an adaptive environmental water condition
    • taken or permitted to be taken under a licence of an environmental subcategory; or
    • taken or permitted to be taken under a licence of a class prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of section 8.

In addition to environmental water defined under section 8, the department recognises that a significant number of water access licences are purchased and/or held for an environmental purpose. This type of licensed environmental water is described in the Environmental Water Register as having a ‘non-statutory’ environmental purpose. A licence is classified as having a ‘non-statutory’ environmental purpose by agreement between the department and the holder of the respective licence.

This register provides a record of licensed environmental water including part held licences (where only a part of the entitlement is held for the environment).

While most water access licences can be used for an environmental purpose in accordance with a water use approval, this register only identifies licences with an adaptive environmental water condition or which have been identified as having a ‘non-statutory’ environmental purpose.

Other information related to water licences, approvals, water trading, and water dealings can be found using the NSW Water Register.