If you are a water user, it is your responsibility to make sure you obtain all necessary licences and approvals before taking water or starting any work near a water source.
WaterNSW is responsible for issuing most licences in NSW, with a focus on rural landholders and businesses. However, the department issues water access licences and associated approvals to larger water users such as irrigation corporations and government entities. It also issues all controlled activity approvals in the state, usually in concert with a development approval from your local council.
Previously, some of these approvals were managed by the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR). These functions have been moved to the Department of Planning and Environment (you are on the correct website).
You can check which agency will manage your application by using our Water Assist (formerly called NRAR Assist) tool below.
The department understands that water regulation legislation and requirements in NSW can be complex.
If you are taking or using surface or groundwater, or you are undertaking an activity near a water source, it is your responsibility to make sure you follow the rules that manage water in NSW.
The Licensing and Approvals team are currently experiencing extended delays in the issuing of licences, approvals and enquiry responses. These delays are expected until December 2022.
We apologise for the inconvenience these delays are having on our customers.
Visit Assessment timeframes for more information.
A list of current works approval applications, including information on how to object.
Water licences are a valuable asset. You can trade water access licences, licence shares and water allocations.
Compliance with licence and approval requirements is critical to sharing of our precious water.
Public access to information about water licences, approvals, water trading and environmental water.