Do I need a Water Licence?

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Who requires a Water Licence?

DPIPWE has been delegated the power to grant or refuse water licence applications in accordance with the Water Management Act 1999. 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 with the exception of users listed under Part 5 of the Act.

Rights to water under Part 5 are predominantly for riparian landholders wishing to take water for stock, domestic house and garden purposes. Part 5 rights also cover the following uses of water:
  • Riparian landholders for domestic purposes and livestock consumption
  • Firefighting
  • Casual users for the above purposes
  • Surface water (water flowing over land and not in a watercourse) for any purpose
  • Groundwater for any purpose unless the area has been declared as a specified Groundwater Area*
  • Small-scale generation of hydro-electricity.
If it becomes necessary to put in place controls to protect rights of other users including the environment, a water licence may be required for the above. This requirement can either be put in place under the Water Regulations or via a Water Management Plan.

Licences provide specific details of a person's rights to take water allocated under the licence.

* A Groundwater Area is an area of land that has been appointed as a Groundwater Area by an order made by the Minister. The purpose of a Groundwater Area is to specifically define limited areas in which the groundwater resources are intensively used and to implement groundwater licensing in those areas in order to equitably and sustainably manage the resource.

The Sassafras Wesley Vale groundwater area has been proclaimed as a part of the Sassafras Wesley Vale Water Management Plan. See Groundwater Management and Sassafras Wesley Vale Water Management Plan for more information.

How long does a Water Licence last?

A water licence will be issued for a period of 40 years with provision made for reassessment of licence conditions every five years.

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