Licences and approvals to take, use or trade water
Water users must obtain all necessary licences and water supply work approvals before taking or trading water or starting work on waterfront land.
Explore below to find out how you can follow the laws for using water from surface and groundwater sources in NSW.
Controlled activity approvals
Find out what approvals you need to carry out works on waterfront land (controlled activities) and how to undertake this activity.
Apply for a water access licence
Information on all water licences, including how to apply, and the fees for each.
Water supply work approvals
Do your works or water use require an approval, and if so, where to apply.
Use the Water Assist tool to find out what you need to do
The department manages licences for the state’s largest water users and for all activities on waterfront land, while WaterNSW works with most other water users.
We’ve developed the Water Assist tool to help you work out who to talk to and what steps to take to get the licences and approvals you need.Use the Water Assist tool
How long will it to take to get a licence or approval?
Water management is complex, so it takes time to work through the licensing and approvals process. Some types of applications need more time.Find out the assessment timeframe for your application
Find out more...
Authorisations to construct certain works or carry out certain activities which can impact on land and water resources.
Water licences are a valuable asset. You can trade water access licences, licence shares and water allocations.
Reducing red tape for water licences and approvals
Water licensing improvement program to transform water licensing and approvals for water users in NSW.
Basic landholder rights
Landholder rights to take water from a river, lake, aquifer or rainfall runoff without a water licence or approval in certain circumstances.
State significant developments and infrastructure under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
A list of current works approval applications, including information on how to object.