Groundwater access licence exemptions
The following groundwater exemptions relate only to a water access licence. If relying on either exemption, you must still hold other relevant approvals, such as a water supply work approval.
The exemptions are:
Less than 3 megalitres (ML)
- 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. Examples include:
- temporary dewatering for water taken to ensure safe and efficient excavation when constructing buildings, but not to water taken for irrigation or town water supply
- pumping tests to investigate the water sources production capability, aquifer properties and interference impacts for other water users
- remediation of groundwater contamination
- exploration for minerals (including coal) or petroleum.
More than 3ML (Botany Sands)
- 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 30 June 2025 or when a controlled allocation of access licences occurs, whichever happens first.
The table below summarises the key differences between the two exemptions:
Groundwater Source applies to
3ML or less
No expiry date
Botany Sands (3ML or more)
30 June 20252
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.