Surface Water Licence / Permit - New South Wales


You may need this licence or permit if you intend to construct or use a work to take water from a river, lake or other water source.

Every owner or occupier of a landholding has basic landholder rights. These rights allow you to take water from a water source, and to construct certain water supply works, for the purposes of domestic consumption and stock watering. If you intend to take water for any other purpose the approval of the Agency is required.

This licence or permit is required for certain works used for the purpose of:

  • water conservation
  • irrigation
  • water supply
  • drainage
  • changing the course of a river.

This applies to:

  • taking water from a stream or river via a pump or other work
  • capturing surface water from rainfall run off in a farm dam
  • capturing river water in a dam.

Embargo orders apply in some areas. Where an embargo order applies, an application cannot be lodged unless it fits within one of the exemptions specified in the order or in this Act. In some areas, you may be able to purchase a licence from an existing licence holder.

This licence only applies to water sources (rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers) in NSW where water sharing plans have not commenced. To find out whether a water source is in a water sharing plan, please consult the Contact Officer.

Service type


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

Eligibility requirements

Please consult the Contact Officer for more information regarding eligibility requirements.


As specified


Fees Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Description
Apply Application All

Fee information is in the attached fee resource.


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.