A NSW Government website


Water supply work approvals

Find out whether your works or water use require an approval, and if so, where to apply.

Aerial image of reservoir.
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NSW water regulation legislation and requirements in NSW can be complex. The department manages licences and approvals for the state’s largest water users 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

Works which take or store water from a river, lake or groundwater source

Water supply work approvals allow you to construct and use a work which takes water from a river, lake or underground aquifer.

Water supply works include pumps, bores, dams, weirs, irrigation channels, banks and levees.

Approval is needed for these works to ensure they don’t harm water sources or the animals and plants dependent on them. Approvals also ensure the works don’t affect access to water by other water users.

Do you need to install a meter?

Does your water supply work need a meter on it? What sort of meter do you need? Check the NSW non-urban water metering framework which has full details on metering requirements.

What is a water use approval?

Water use approvals allow you to use water on your land. Irrigation, town water supply, power generation and mining are examples of water uses which require water use approvals.


For some entities, water supply works and water uses are exempt from requiring approvals. Find out if an exemption may apply to your project.

Are you exempt?

Where do you apply for water supply work or water use approvals?

Licences and approvals for private rural landholders and rural industries are issued by WaterNSW. The department provides licences and approvals for many larger commercial and all government entities. Find out who we cover and how to apply below.

How to apply for a water supply work and water use approval

Application forms and guides to apply for a new approval or existing approval.

Water licensing and approvals exemptions

Learn more about exemptions, and when you won’t need to apply for water licence or work approval.

Tweed River.