Accessing and Using Water

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Accessing water

In planning for the water needs of animal, horticultural and agricultural enterprises on your property, you may be considering a number of options for accessing ground water (bore) and/or applying for a water licence to access surface water (rivers and other natural watercourses).

Storage of water is another aspect of water use and management, and consideration of the best way to store and use water is an important part of your property planning.
DPIPWE provides services that contribute towards the sustainable use and management of the State's water resources. This includes: the design of policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure the equitable, efficient and sustainable allocation and use of surface and groundwater resources, and the safety of dams; monitoring and assessment of the condition of the State's freshwater resources; and supporting the development of new irrigation schemes.
A Guide to Water in Tasmania​ provides you with information to better understand how water is allocated, who is responsible for its management and allocation and environmental considerations. 

Water Information Tasmania Web Portal

The Water Information Tasmania Web Portal provides data for a range of operational surface and groundwater locations. The Web Portal also provides water information from sites that are now closed or data from discrete historical projects. Collectively this provides access to the latest available readings for approximately 6000 data sets.

Monitoring river levels

Sometimes monitoring the flow levels of your local river can help in understanding the system during peak rains.  This is especially important for those who may have access in perios of  flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology provides updated information on rainfall and river data in Tasmania.  The following links provide access to this data.

​What do I need to know about accessing and using water?

​Water can be accessed from river and catchment systems or from groundwater systems.

Water is managed on the basis of the 48 catchments in Tasmania. These catchments include various watercourses and have been defined at a suitable scale for resource management based on a combination of water flow, land tenure and land management.

To locate your local catchment​​​ area there is a PDF map on the Department's Water Catchment webpage. 

Understanding the different requirements for accessing water is important. Depending upon your needs you may require a water licence or permit to create storage areas. You must have a water licence and water allocation if you intend to take water from a river or stream, or store water in a farm dam, for farming or other commercial purposes (some exceptions apply).

The links below will assist you in accessing further information regarding the above areas:

​Contact a DPIPWE Officer

For further advice on new water licences and dam applications, please contact 

For advice about dam safety, water licence compliance and accessing water, please contact

Temporary water allocations

There are occasions when a holder of a water licence, or landholders without a licence, may take more water than the licence permits. These can occur during high flows in a watercourse. However, before water is taken, a temporary allocation must be approved and issued under Section 90(1) of the Water Management Act 1999​.
Applications for temporary water allocations may be made to your Regional Water Management Officer.


​Dams - building new dams, management and safety​

Generally all dams, including levees and weirs, are regulated in Tasmania under the Water Management Act 1999​ and the Water Management (Safety of Dams) Regulations 2015​.

DPIPWE's Water Management and Assessment Branch can provide advice on how to obtain a 'Permit to Undertake Dam Works' which is required to construct, remove or modify a dam under the Water Management Act and Regulations.

The links below can assist you with what you need to consider and comply with for building a dam, maintaining a dam and dam safety in Tasmania.​​

​Bores (groundwater) - building bores or using existing ones

Tasmania has an extensive groundwater resource. However, these groundwater resources are not evenly distributed and quality and yield can be highly variable, depending on the aquifer type, the topographic location and the rainfall.

The following links provide information and mapping tools on groundwater reserves in your area.

​Do I need a licence?

At present, the owner or occupier of land may take groundwater from the land for any purpose without a water licence, unless:
  • the land is situated in a Groundwater Area appointed by the Minister and a licence is required in that Groundwater Area, or
  • the land is situated in a water management plan area and a licence is required by the water management plan, or
  • the taking would cause, either directly or indirectly, material environmental harm or serious environmental harm.
The Department's Groundwater Management​ web page will give you more information on these requirements.

Transferring a licence when buying or selling a property

If you have bought or are in the process of buying a property, it is worth checking to see if there are existing water licences or dams associated with the property. The LISTmap ( has a 'Water Licence Information' layer that contains details of existing water licences and dams. 

Please note water licences are not automatically transferred with property. For further information on transferring water licences and dam permits, please read the information on Transferring Water and Dam licences. ​


​​​​Do I need to apply for a well works permit?

A well works permit is required to undertake all well works and information on the construction and maintenance of a well or bore is on the Department's web page Wells and Bores.

​Permits allow for better management of the location of new wells and the standards to which they are drilled and constructed, and assist with the collection of information on the groundwater systems and their levels of development and use.

Managing water and undertaking works on natural watercourses

​There are a number of aspects in managing your water through seasonal conditions
Information on variation in water flows, irrigation needs and planning (water flow forecasts) may assist you in your decision making. 

Other resources that may help include two documents from NRM South​:

​​Undertaking works on watercourses

If you have natural watercourses through your property, you may be wishing to undertake some works on or around these areas. 
DPIPWE's Waterways and Wetlands Works manual​ provides environmental best practice guidelines for undertaking works in these sensitive areas. Guidelines are available on practical strategies to minimise environmental harm when undertaking works on waterways and wetlands in Tasmania.
This manual provides a series of guidelines on legislative and policy requirements, construction practices, excavating in waterways, siting and designing stream crossings and management of riparian vegetation.

​​Irrigation tools and tips

​Should you wish to use your water for irrigation it is important to plan your irrigation management in order to increase production, reduce the cost of production, reduce pests and diseases, optimise the use of a scarce resource and reduce impacts on the environment.

Variations in soil type, crop needs and the season can greatly influence the efficiency of your water resource use.

On the Department's website there are various pages that may assist you with information on how best to use irrigation as a tool for your enterprise, including:

Understanding your soils is an important part of efficient irrigation practices (and there is a separate information package on the topic as part of this package). Good soil condition and fertility are basic to sustainable agriculture. An ideal soil should be well drained, have a deep rooting zone, be easily penetrated by air, water, and roots, have a good water-holding capacity, have a balanced nutrient supply, and resist erosion.

Information on soil types, management methods and management of soil biology​ can be found on the Department's Land Management and Soils web page.


AgriGrowth Tasmania
Level 3, 134 Macquarie Street
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS
Phone: 1300 292 292

Water Enquiries
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 1300 368 550

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