Water Act 2000 - Queensland

Service summary

The purpose of the Act isto advance the sustainable management and efficient use of water and related resources by establishing a system for the planning, allocation and use of water

Chapter 2 of the Act prescribes provisions relating to:

  • water rights - vesting of right to the use, control and flow of water in the State
  • restrictions for emergencies and water shortages
  • other restrictions on taking or interfering with water
  •  water planning - making Water resource plans to provide for the allocation, management and use of water
  • managing water use
  • implementing Water resource plans
  • implementing Resource operations plans
  • grant, amend, transfer, amalgamate, cancel or refuse resource and distribution operations licences
  • grant, amend, correct, transfer, amalgamate, subdivide, change or forfeit water allocations.
  • seasonally assign water allocations
  • grant, amend, transfer or cancel Interim resource operations Licences
  • grant, transfer, forfeit or surrender Interim water allocations
  • seasonally assign interim water allocations
  • grant, amend, renew, reinstate, transfer, amalgamate, subdivide, surrender or cancel water licences and permits
  • seasonally assign water licences.
  • declaring catchment areas
  • grant, amend, cancel or suspend riverine protection permits.
  • grant, amend, transfer, renew, cancel or suspend quarry material allocation notices.
  • grant, amend, renew, reinstate, suspend or cancel a water bore drillers licence.
  • grant, amend, transfer, surrender or cancel an operations licence

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Definition of terms

Artesian bore

includes a shaft, well, gallery, spear or excavation (and any works constructed in connection) that taps an aquifer that flows, or has flowed, 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.

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.

Quarry material

means material in a watercourse or lake, other than a mineral under the meaning of any Act relating to mining, and includes stone, gravel, sand, rock, clay, earth and soil unless it is removed from the watercourse or lake as waste material.

Riparian landowner

an owner of land adjoining or containing a watercourse, lake or spring.


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

Subartesian bore

includes a shaft, well, gallery, spear or excavation (and any works constructed in connection) that taps an aquifer and the water does not flow and never has flowed naturally to the surface.


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.


Appeal process


Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:

Authorised officers have powers to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act.

Fines may be imposed for offences and a licence or permit may be amended, varied, suspended, cancelled or revoked.

Review or Appeal Mechanisms:

Appeal mechanisms exist under the Act.

Any person who receives an information notice about a decision under the Act may seek an internal review of that decision. A person who has applied for a review of the original decision can appeal the decision.

An appeal against a review decision relating to a water licence, water permit, riverine protection permit, quarry material allocation notice or operations licence may be made to the Land Court.

An appeal against a review decision relating to a drillers licence may be made to the Magistrates Court.

An appeal against a review decision relating to a development permit may be made to the Planning and Environment Court.

Administering agency

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

Contact details

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


13 QGOV (13 74 68)


Department of Natural Resources and Mines contact list Opens in a new browser window

Supporting information


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