A NSW Government website

Basic landholder rights

Domestic and stock rights

Find out more about the guidelines for water use for domestic consumption and stock watering.

Domestic and stock rights are one component of basic landholder rights under the Water Management Act, 2000 (Section 52). These rights allow you to take and use water for domestic consumption and stock watering without a water access licence.

These rights apply 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.

You will need a water supply work approval if you wish to take water for domestic and stock rights using a bore, or to construct a dam to hold water taken using domestic and stock rights. Refer to WaterNSW for information on constructing dams and bores.

More information

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:

  • domestic consumption, i.e. normal household purposes
  • drinking water for stock animals (not including stock raised on an intensive commercial basis, that are housed or kept in feedlots or buildings for all - or a substantial part - of the time they are raised).

Find  examples of what water accessed under domestic and stock rights can and can’t be used for in the Domestic and stock rights FAQs (PDF, 1228.5 KB).

Constructing a dam or bore for domestic and stock purposes

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

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.

How do I apply for an approval?

For information about how you can apply for a water supply work approval to construct a dam or bore for domestic and stock purposes, visit the WaterNSW water licensing/approvals page.

WaterNSW is responsible for water approvals required by rural landholders.

Reviewing domestic and stock basic landholder rights

As part of the NSW Water Strategy (action 1.6) the NSW Government has committed to review the regulation of domestic and stock basic landholder rights.

The use of these rights is currently largely unregulated. There are restrictions on the purposes water can be used for, as outlined above, however there is no limit on the volume of water that may be taken or detailed guidelines about how the right can be used.

Several reviews have recommended regulating domestic and stock basic landholder rights as a logical next step towards improving water management in NSW. Recent droughts have raised further issues around the way water is taken and used under domestic and stock basic landholder rights during extreme dry periods.

With these issues in mind the NSW Government is committed to:

  • reviewing the current situation to better understand how much water take is occurring under domestic and stock basic landholder rights and whether this is creating risks in particular areas or circumstances
  • consulting with the community on options for improving understanding of domestic and stock basic landholder rights, and whether rules are required to better manage the rights.

The consultation for this review is intended to be an open process to seek the views of water users and the community on how these rights are used and how they should be managed. This consultation program is intended to commence in mid-2022.

If you would like to be kept informed about the review and opportunities to provide feedback, please email domesticstockrights@dpie.nsw.gov.au

Frequently asked questions

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

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Compliance

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

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