Landholders can take water under landholder rights without a water licence or approval in certain circumstances.
There are three types of landholder rights in NSW under the Water Management Act 2000:
- Domestic and stock rights
- Harvestable rights
- Native title rights.
Domestic and stock rights
Owners or occupiers of land which:
- has river, lake, or estuary frontage, or
- is overlaying an aquifer
- can take and use water for domestic consumption and stock watering without a licence, water supply work approval (unless the work is a dam or bore), or water use approval.
Domestic consumption means the use of water for normal household purposes in domestic premises which are situated on the land.
Stock watering means the watering of stock animals being raised on the land. It does not include raising stock animals on an intensive commercial basis where the animals are housed or kept in feedlots or buildings.
Owners or occupiers of land can collect a proportion of the rainfall run-off from the land in one or more dams without a water licence, water supply work approval, or water use approval.
Restrictions on the size of the dams and the location of the dams apply.
The water captured in a harvestable rights dam cannot be supplied to any other property.
Native title rights
Anyone who holds native title with respect to water, as determined under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993, can take and use water in the exercise of their native title rights without a water licence, water supply work approval (unless the work is a dam or bore), or water use approval.
You are responsible for ensuring that any water you use under a landholder right is safe and suitable to use.
NSW Health warns that water from a dam, river, lake or aquifer can be contaminated with micro-organisms, chemicals or algal blooms.
This water should not be used for drinking or cooking without appropriate treatment.
Information on water quality and treatment is available on the NSW Health website.