Responsibilities for granting and managing water licences and approvals are shared between the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) and WaterNSW.

NRAR is responsible for water licences and approvals required by or for:

  • Government agencies, including NSW and Commonwealth government agencies and councils
  • State owned corporations
  • Major water utilities, water supply authorities and licensed network operators under the Water Industry Competition Act 2006 (NSW)
  • Entities who are carrying out activities under the Mining Act 1992 (NSW), the Offshore Minerals Act 1999 (NSW), the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (NSW) or the Petroleum (Offshore) Act 1982
  • Irrigation corporations
  • Public schools and public hospitals
  • Entities who hold or are eligible to hold an Aboriginal commercial, Aboriginal community development, Aboriginal cultural or Aboriginal environmental subcategory of access licence
  • Entities undertaking major developments (state significant developments and state significant infrastructure)

NRAR is also responsible for all controlled activity approvals for work carried out in, on or beside rivers, lakes and estuaries. Visit approvals for more information.

Read about the floodplain harvesting program and the healthy floodplains project.

WaterNSW is responsible for water licences and approvals required by:

  • Rural landholders
  • Rural industries
  • Developments which are not state significant development or state significant infrastructure

WaterNSW is also responsible for managing trade of water access licences, licence entitlements and water allocations.

Read more information and find application forms and guides.