Water Access Licence - New South Wales


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:

  • A specific WAL which is granted for a specific purpose and ceases to exist once that purpose no longer exists.
  • 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.


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 Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Description
Apply Application All

Fees are listed on the attached document.

Other resources

Task Business Structure Resources
Comply All Application Fees - PDF (Opens in new window)

Act(s) name

Water Management Act 2000 NSW

Regulation(s) name

Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 NSW

Application process


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

Lodgement process


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

Contact details

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

General Enquiries, Water Licensing

NSW Office of Water

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Department of Industry

Operating address: Level 10,
Macquarie Tower
New South Wales 2124
Mailing address: Locked Bag 5123
New South Wales 2124
Toll Free: 1800 353 104
Phone: 02 8281 7777
Fax: 02 8281 7799
Email: water.enquiries@dpi.nsw.gov.au