Water supply work and water use approvals

Water supply work approvals

Water supply work approvals allow you to construct and use a work which takes water from a river, lake or aquifer.

Examples of water supply works are water pumps, water bores, dams, weirs, irrigation channels, banks and levees.

The purpose of water supply work approvals is to ensure that the construction or use of a work does not cause negative impacts on water sources and their dependent ecosystems, or access to water for landholder rights.

Enforcement of approval conditions requiring metering equipment which complies with Australian Standard AS4747

In early 2018, some approval holders in NSW received notification from WaterNSW about the conditions which apply to their water supply work approvals. These conditions are required under the Water Management Act 2000 to give effect to water sharing rules and also reflect the conditions which applied to converted licences under the Water Act 1912. For more information download the Water supply work approval conditions and metering standards (PDF, 36.83 KB) fact sheet.

Keeping a logbook about water take

When water is taken under an access licence, water sharing plan rules may require that specific information is recorded in a written hard copy or electronic form called a logbook.

The department has developed logbook templates to assist access licence holders and approval holders to comply with logbook conditions.

For more information, view the fact sheet Keeping a logbook about water take (PDF, 128.79 KB).

To find out which logbook template to use, view the fact sheet Which logbook template should I use? (PDF, 107.89 KB).

Download a logbook template

Water use approvals

Water use approvals allow you to use water on your land.

Examples of water uses which require approval are irrigation, town water supply, power generation and mining.

The purpose of water use approvals is to ensure that water use activities do not:

  • cause land degradation, such as soil erosion, compaction, geomorphic instability, contamination, acidity, waterlogging, salinity or decline of native vegetation
  • affect the productivity of land in the long term
  • cause negative impacts on water sources and their dependent ecosystems, or other water users.

Rural landholders and industries

WaterNSW is your one stop shop for licensing services, including approvals, for rural landholders and industries.

Our customers

The following information is provided for our department’s customers.

How do I apply for an approval?

For information go to approval applications & fees.

Are there exemptions?

You do not need a water supply work approval or water use approval if an exemption applies, such as taking and using water:

  • for major projects which are state significant development or state significant infrastructure
  • in certain circumstances specified in the regulations, for example:
    • prospecting or fossicking for minerals or petroleum under the Mining Act 1992 or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
    • constructing a water pipe to convey water from one place to another
    • constructing and using an ‘exempt monitoring bore’ to measure water levels, water pressure or water quality
    • using water for Aboriginal cultural purposes when the water was taken under a specific purpose access licence
    • using water for a purpose for which a development consent is in force under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • under landholder rights in certain circumstances.

For information about whether an exemption applies to your proposed activity, contact us.

Constructing a bore

If you are granted a water supply work approval to construct and use a water bore, it is your responsibility to:

  • Ensure that the bore is drilled by a person who holds a current driller's licence. Drillers are required to carry their licence with them.
  • Provide the driller with a copy of the approval to construct the bore and conditions sheets so that they are aware of any special construction requirements.
  • Send the ‘‘Form A’ document which has been completed by the driller to WaterNSW, together with any other additional information required in the water supply works approval, within two months of completion of the bore.

A copy of the ‘Form A’ document is provided with approvals for a water supply work. As part of their licence requirements, drillers must complete this form.

For more information, go to Driller's licences.