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Groundwater WAL exemptions

Two new WAL exemptions are now available under the Water Management (General) Regulation 2018.

Toonumbar Dam.

Groundwater water access licence exemptions

The following groundwater exemptions relate only to a water access licence. If relying on either exemption, you are still required to hold other relevant approvals such as a water supply work approval.

The exemptions are:

  • for taking less than or equal to 3ML of groundwater per year in any water source (3ML or less exemption).

The 3ML or less exemption applies only to aquifer interference activities not involving taking water for consumption or supply. For example, the exemption applies to water taken to ensure safe and efficient excavation when constructing buildings, but not to water taken for irrigation or town water supply.

  • for taking greater than 3ML of groundwater per year for excavation dewatering in the Botany Sands Groundwater Source only (Botany Sands exemption).

The Botany Sands exemption applies only for groundwater taken through dewatering to conduct excavation for buildings, roads and infrastructure. This exemption applies to the Botany Sands Groundwater source only and ends 1 July 2023 or when a controlled allocation of access licences occurs, whichever happens first.

The table below summarises key differences between the 2 exemptions:

Exemption Groundwater Source applies toQuantityExpires
3ML or less Any <=3ML No expiry date
Botany Sands (3ML or more) Botany Sands1 >3ML 1 July 20232
1 As at end July 2021, but can include others if listed for that purpose in the Gazette.
2 Or when a controlled allocation of access licences occurs.

If you are unsure whether either exemption applies, see the fact sheets under more information below.

If your water licence is managed by the department, you must record and report the water taken within 28 days of the water year finishing (i.e. by 28 July) if you are relying on either exemption.

Recording and reporting water taken:

  1. Download and complete the Record of groundwater take under exemption (PDF, 287.56 KB) form
  2. Send the completed form to nrar.enquiries@nrar.nsw.gov.au OR mail to:

Natural Resources Access Regulator
Locked Bag 5022
Parramatta NSW 2124