Groundwater Management

​​Colour photograph showing large drilling bore with water spouting out - worker standing nearby.
The Department is responsible for managing the State's groundwater resources under the provisions of the Water Management Act 1999.

Taking Groundwater

At present, the owner or occupier of land may take groundwater from the land for any purpose without a water licence, unless:

a) the land is situated in a Groundwater Area appointed by the Minister and a licence is required in that Groundwater Area, or
b) the land is situated in a water management plan area and a licence is required by the Water Management Plan, or
c) the taking would cause, either directly or indirectly, material environmental harm or serious environmental harm.

Groundwater Area

A Groundwater Area is an area of land which has been appointed as a Groundwater Area by an order made by the Minister. The purpose of a Groundwater Area is to define specific areas where groundwater resources are intensively used and groundwater licensing is required in order to equitably and sustainably manage the water resource.

The Sassafras Wesley Vale groundwater area has been proclaimed as a part of the Sassafras Wesley Vale Water Management Plan.  A plan of the area is available here:

 Sassafrass Wesley Vale groundwater area (PDF 4Mb)

Groundwater provisions

Groundwater management provisions may be included in Water Management Plans where appropriate if, for instance, an aquifer or interconnected surface water body is considered to be under threat from over-extraction or contamination. These provisions may cover issues such as groundwater licensing and allocation, monitoring, and well construction and maintenance.

Well Works Permits

A well works permit is required to undertake all well works.

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

Wells and Bores - outlines the responsibilities of well owners and well drillers.

Licensing of Well Drillers

As of 11 August 2009, well works may only be undertaken by holders of a Tasmanian Well Driller's Licence.

"Well works" means an excavation undertaken to give access to groundwater, any other works undertaken to repair or modify the structure of a well or any works undertaken to plug, backfill, seal or decommission a well.

Certain types of well works will be exempted from this requirement, so you will need to contact the Department to find out whether this applies to your proposed well works.

The licensing of well drillers ensures that minimum standards of well drilling and construction are met and this helps to protect consumers and those in the drilling industry from unqualified and inexperienced operators.

The system is consistent with other States in that it recogniseses different competency levels within the drilling industry and is based on a combination of qualifications and experience. Drillers licensed in Tasmania are able to work in other States with minimal additional requirements.

See Tasmanian Driller's Licence formore information.

Groundwater Information Access Portal

The Portal provides you with a way to find basic information about groundwater features in Tasmania. The information comes from NRE Tas Groundwater Information Management System (GWIMS).

As at August 2011, the database includes about 10,000 groundwater bores, and additional bores are being added all the time.

The portal can be accessed here:

For assistance with using the portal, see the Groundwater Information Access Portal Help page

Further Information

Groundwater reports have been prepared for selected areas of the state: Groundwater information for your area


Water Enquiries

GPO Box 44,
Hobart, TAS, 7001.