A NSW Government website

Types of water access licences and how to obtain

Apply for a water license

You will need to work with the Licensing and Trade branch, and the Water Utilities branch of the department to apply for a water licence.

Apply for a new water licence or additional entitlement

The department is responsible for processing and determining applications for new water access licences and entitlement by local water utilities.

The department’s Local Water Utilities branch provides technical advice for licensing and approvals to inform its decision.

Steps for applying for a new water access licence

To apply for a new water specific purpose access licence with the category ‘local water utility’ or subcategory ‘town water supply’ or ‘domestic and commercial’, complete the steps below:

1. Before you start

Contact Licensing and Trade about making an application for the licence.

You can contact the Local Water Utilities branch about information requirements and assessments relating to demonstrating the strategic need for a specific purpose access licence.

Let the Licensing and Trade branch know if you have already contacted the Local Water Utilities branch.

Visit Licensing and Trade

2. Submit your application

Select, complete, and submit your form to the department.

Ensure all required information for Licensing and Trade assessment is included; failure to include the requested information may impact your application assessment.

3. Register your new water access licence

If the department grants the water access licence, your licence must be registered on the NSW Land Registry .

You have 6 months to register your new licence from the day the department notifies you that the licence has been granted. The department will provide instructions on how to contact the NSW Land Registry Service.

Visit NSW Land Registry Services (LRS)

4. Nominate a water supply work

Contact WaterNSW to make an application to nominate a water supply work on your registered water access licence. Unless an exemption applies, you can only take water under the licence using an approved nominated water supply work. This is required even if a water supply work approval is not mandated.

Water supply works are the infrastructure used to take water from a water source. Examples of water supply works are water pumps, water bores, dams, weirs, and levees. To nominate a water supply work, fill out this form and return it to WaterNSW using the details on the application form:

5. Apply for a water supply work and/or use approval

A water supply work approval and water use approval are required unless exemptions apply.

Water supply work approvals are required for constructing and using specific water supply infrastructure and are necessary for using water on your land for various purposes, including irrigation, town water supply, power generation, mining and more.

The department provides licences and approvals for larger commercial and government entities. To learn more about applying for water supply work and/or use approvals, as well as applicable exemptions, visit approvals.

Licence and additional entitlement application contacts

To apply for an additional water entitlement under 66(4) of the Water Management Act 2000, contact the Licensing and Trade team.

You may also contact the Local Water Utilities branch to check what information you need to provide to demonstrate the strategic need for additional water entitlement.


Local Water Utilities

To contact the Water Utilities Branch of the Department of Planning and Environment, phone 1300 081 047.

Licensing and Trade

To contact DPE – Water about submitting your application, email waterlicensing.servicedesk@dpie.nsw.gov.au or phone 1800 633 362.


To contact WaterNSW about nominating a water supply work, email Customer.Helpdesk@waternsw.com.auor phone 1300 662 077.