Domestic and stock rights
Under the Water Management Act 2000, an owner or occupier of a landholding is entitled to take water from a river, estuary or lake which fronts their land or from an aquifer which is underlying their land for domestic consumption and stock watering without the need for an access licence. This is a domestic and stock right.
While owners and occupiers of landholdings do not need a water access licence to take water under a domestic and stock right, they still need to obtain a water supply work approval to construct a dam or a water bore. For more information also go to Constructing a bore and Water supply work approvals.
Water taken under a domestic and stock right may be used for normal household purposes around the house and garden and/or for drinking water for stock. It cannot be used for irrigating fodder crops for stock, washing down in a dairy or machinery shed, intensive livestock operations (such as feedlots, piggeries or battery chickens), aquaculture or for commercial purposes (including caravan parks or large-scale bed and breakfast accommodation) other than for the personal use of the proprietors.
A licence is required for water taken for commercial activities such as irrigation, mining, aquaculture, feedlots, piggeries, poultry farms, golf/sporting areas and snow making.
|If your land fronts a river or lake or overlies an aquifer||...and you want to take water from the river, lake or estuary for domestic or stock use||Domestic and stock rights apply. You do not require a licence to take water in this situation|
|...and you want to take water from the aquifer for domestic or stock use||You do not need a licence to take groundwater for domestic or stock use. However you must obtain a water supply work approval to construct a bore or well|
|If your land does not front a river or lake and does not overlie an aquifer||...and you want to build a small dam for domestic or stock use||Harvestable rights may apply in this situation. You do not need a licence or an approval for a harvestable right dam
You must obtain a water supply work approval to construct an in-river dam
|...and you want to take water from a river, lake or aquifer for domestic or stock use||You must obtain a licence before taking water or installing a pump|
Note that rainwater tanks do not require a licence or consent from NSW Office of Water, although some local government authorities may require development consent.
NSW Health warns that water from a dam, river, lake or aquifer can be contaminated with micro-organisms, chemicals or algal blooms. It is not recommended that this water be used for drinking or cooking without appropriate treatment. Information on water quality and treatment is available on the NSW Health website.