Domestic & stock rights

You can take and use water for domestic consumption and stock watering without a water licence, water supply work approval (unless the work is a dam or bore), or water use approval if you own or occupy a parcel of land which:

  • has river, lake, or estuary frontage, or
  • is overlying an aquifer.

This is called your domestic and stock right.

Rural landholders

Domestic and stock rights are generally exercised by rural landholders.

For rural landholders, WaterNSW is your one stop shop for licensing services.

Our department’s customers

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

Where do domestic and stock rights apply?

Where do domestic and stock rights apply

What can you use your domestic and stock right for?

If you have a domestic and stock right, you can use the water you take for:

  • normal household purposes
  • drinking water for stock.

Constructing a dam or bore for domestic and stock purposes

If you take water under your domestic and stock right using a dam or bore, you need a water supply work approval to authorise its construction.

An approval is required to ensure that the construction of the dam or bore does not cause negative impacts on water sources and their dependent ecosystems, or other landholders’ access to water for landholder rights.

How do I apply for an approval?

For information about how our department’s customers can apply for a water supply work approval to construct a dam or bore for domestic and stock purposes, go to water supply work and water use approvals.

Frequently asked questions

We have created some frequently asked questions on domestic and stock rights.


The NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator is responsible for compliance and enforcement of NSW water law including domestic and stock rights.

For information, go to Compliance.