Water Access Licence - New South Wales

Service summary

If you intend to obtain share in a water source within an area covered by a Water Sharing Plan you will require a Water Access Licence (WAL). A WAL provides a clearly defined entitlement to the water that is separate from land ownership and provides access to the available water governed by a Water Sharing Plan. Water Sharing Plans establish rules for sharing water between environmental needs and water users, and also between different types of water use such as town supply, stock watering, industry and irrigation and rural domestic supply.

There are different WAL categories that define the priorities between difference access licences, the conditions that apply to them and define how water may be used. There may also be different criteria for different water sources.

There are two broad types of water access licences:

  1. A specific WAL which is granted for a specific purpose and ceases to exist once that purpose no longer exists.
  2. A WAL with a zero share component which means that the licence holder has no specific shares in the water management area but is allowed to have a water allocation account and to buy or transfer allocation water on an annual basis or share component from another licence holder.

Please be aware that generally, new WAL for commercial purposes (irrigation, industry and mining) are no longer being granted. Instead, if you want to obtain a permanent share of water you will have to purchase an existing licence on the water market.

Please consult the Contact Officer for a comprehensive list of the specific types of available licences and for more information.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

Please consult with the Contact Officer for information on any eligibility requirements or review the relevant application form.


Continuing water access licences will stay in effect indefinitely while specific purpose licences will be cancelled when the purpose for which they were issued has been resolved.



Fees are listed on the attached document.



Guidelines for each variation of licence can be found on the website.



Applications can be lodged online or in hard copy.

Approval time

Online applications tend to be processed quicker.

Administering agency

Department of Industry
NSW Department of Primary Industries
NSW Office of Water

Act(s) name

Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales)

Regulation(s) name

Water Management (General) Regulation 2011 (New South Wales)

Contact details

General Enquiries, Water Licensing
Department of Industry
NSW Department of Primary Industries
NSW Office of Water

Operating address:
Level 10,
Macquarie Tower
New South Wales 2124
Mailing address:
Locked Bag 5123
New South Wales 2124


02 8281 7777


1800 353 104


02 8281 7799

Supporting information


The information contained on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) web site, or via packages or other sources is intended for general guidance only.

To the full extent permitted by law, the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments make no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) in relation to the information, including its accuracy, currency or completeness.

The business information provided does not constitute professional or legal advice, nor is the use of any third party resource an endorsement of the information contained, the associated organisation, product or service. It is recommended that you obtain appropriate professional and /or independent legal advice to ensure that the material provided here is relevant to your particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments, their employees and agents do not accept any liability for any reason, including without limitation, liability in negligence, to any person for the general information which is provided herein, or in respect of anything, including the consequences of anything done, or not done, by any such person in whole or partial reliance upon the information.