Water licence to take water from or interfere with the water in watercourses/lakes/springs/aquifers/overland flow - Queensland

Service summary

This water licence is required to take water or to interfere with the flow of water:

  • in a watercourse, lake or spring
  • any artesian water
  • subartesian water in areas specified in a Water Resource Plan, a wild river declaration (Wild Rivers Act 2005) or declared by the Water Regulation 2002

Or to take

  • overland flow water in areas specified under a Water resource plan

Note: A licence is not required by an owner of land adjoining a watercourse, lake or spring to take water for stock or domestic use.

Service type


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

Definition of terms

Artesian water

water that occurs naturally in, or is introduced artificially into, an aquifer, which if tapped by a bore, would flow naturally to the surface.


the storage area created by works that include either a temporary or permanent barrier that does, or could, impound water. It includes an embankment or other structure that controls the flow of water which is incidental to the works creating the storage area. A dam does not include the following: a rainwater tank; a water tank constructed of steel or concrete, or a combination of these materials; a water tank constructed of fibreglass, plastic or similar material.


an intermittent or permanent lagoon, swamp or other natural collection of water. It includes the bed, banks and other elements that confine or contain the water.

Non riparian land

land that does not adjoin a watercourse.

Overland flow

means water, including floodwater, flowing over any land, otherwise than in a watercourse or lake. The water may have risen to the ground naturally, or may have fallen as rain or in any other way. Overland flow does not include: water that has naturally infiltrated the soil in normal farming operations; tailwater from irrigation if the tailwater recycling meets the best practice requirements; water collected from roofs for rainwater tanks.


is the registered proprietor of the land; or the lessee or licensee of the land under the Land Act 1994; or the trustee of a reserve over the land or the holder of a permit to occupy the land under the Land Act 1994; the lessee of the land under a registered lease under the Land Title Act 1994; or an applicant for, or the holder of, a mineral development licence or mining lease under the Mineral Resources Act 1989; the holder of a geothermal exploration permit under the Geothermal Exploration Act 2004.


the land to which the water rises naturally from below the ground and the land over which the water then flows.

Subartesian water

water that occurs naturally in, or is introduced artificially into, an aquifer, which if tapped by a bore, would not flow naturally to the surface.

Unsupplemented water

water that is not supplied from a water supply scheme managed under an interim resource operations licence, resource operations licence, or other authority, to operate infrastructure.


means water in a watercourse, lake or spring; or underground water; or overland flow water; or water that has been collected in a dam.


a watercourse is a river, creek or other stream, including a stream in the form of an anabranch or a tributary in which water flows permanently or intermittently, regardless of the frequency of flow events between the outer banks laterally and between upstream and downstream limits longitudinally. A watercourse can be a natural channel or an artificial channel that has changed the course of the water course, eg a diversion. A watercourse can contain certain elements such as bars, benches and in stream islands.

Eligibility requirements

You should contact the department prior to making application, to determine any prerequisites.


If the licensee intends to cease to be the owner of the land the licensee may apply to transfer the licence to the person who will be the owner of the land. However, if the licensee does not apply to transfer the licence, the licence transfers by default to the registered owner of the land immediately the licensee ceases to be the owner.

Application on the approved form or ensuring registration of the land sale occurs in the Automated Title System.

You can transfer this licence by applying in writing on the approved form to your nearest departmental office at the address given on the department website.


Water licences are granted for the period specified in the licence. Water licences may be renewed.


See Water licences in resources below.


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Information on how to apply is available on the Business Queensland website.

Additional information

A development permit issued under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 is required to physically construct the works (eg, pump) necessary to take or interfere with water.

Administering agency

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Water Services Support, Regional Support

Act(s) name

Water Act 2000 (Queensland)

Contact details

Department of Natural Resources and Mines
Service Delivery
Water Services Support, Regional Support


13 QGOV (13 74 68)


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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.