Groundwater Licence - New South Wales


You will need this licence if you intend to drill for groundwater. This includes extracting groundwater via any type of bore, well, spearpoint or groundwater interception scheme. You cannot sink a bore, or enlarge, deepen or alter a bore unless you hold this licence.

A licence will authorise you to drill for groundwater in a specific location on your land. If you intend to carry out drilling work on other land on behalf of other property owners, you will require a driller's licence.

Embargo orders apply in some areas. Where an embargo order applies, an application cannot be lodged unless it fits within one of the specified exemptions. Additional restrictions on drilling apply in water shortage zones.

This licence only applies to water sources (rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers) in NSW where water sharing plans have not commenced.

Service type


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

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for this licence, you must:

  • complete the relevant application form
  • provide details as to how, the rate and quantity and estimated annual quantity at which the water will be removed and the purposes for the removal or taking of the water
  • provide any other information required by the Agency
  • pay any required fees for an investigation and inquiry with regard to the licence.

Due to the potentially restrictive and extensive nature of the conditions of this licence, please consult with the Contact Officer in the first instance.


The purpose of the licence will determine its length.


Fees Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Amount Description
Apply Application All $48.00

Artesian bore. Fees for 2023-24

Apply Application All $151.00

Non-artesian bore. Fees for 2023-24


Act(s) name

Water Act 1912 New South Wales

Regulation(s) name

Water (Part 2 - General) Regulation 1997 New South Wales

Administering agency

Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water

NSW Office of Water

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Supporting information