A water licence or other approval from the NSW Office of Water is generally required to extract water from rivers or aquifers to use for commercial purposes.
NSW is currently operating under two pieces of legislation relevant to water licences and water trading (the buying and selling of water licences or annual allocation water):
- The Water Management Act 2000 governs the issue of new water licences and the trade of water licences and allocations for those water sources (rivers, lakes and groundwater) in NSW where water sharing plans have commenced. For more information go to water access licences
- The Water Act 1912 governs the issue of water licences in other areas. For more information go to Water Act 1912.
Under the Water Management Act, water licences are fully separated from the land title when a water sharing plan commences. This facilitates water trading. For information on this process and the timing of the separation of water licences from land in NSW go to Licence conversion.