Well Works Permits

What is a well?

The definitions in the Act are:

"well" means -
(a) an opening in the ground below the surface of the earth excavated or used for the taking of groundwater; or
(b) a natural opening in the ground that gives access to groundwater; or
(c) any other excavation as may be provided by the regulations;

"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.

Well Works Permit

Since 1 September 2009, you need to obtain a Well Works Permit before you have well works undertaken anywhere within Tasmania, other than for the exemptions for well works listed below. This is a requirement under section 135 of the Water Management Act 1999 (the Act).

It is also a requirement that a person must not undertake well works without holding a well driller's licence under Division 4 Part 7 of the Act.

These requirements were introduced to ensure that wells are constructed to minimum standards, and to protect consumers and the drilling industry from unqualified and inexperienced practitioners. It will also enable the Department to collect further information about groundwater in the state and on the use and development of groundwater resources.

Application for Well Works Permit

An application will have to be completed on the current Financial Year form.

The form needs to be signed by the owner or agent of the owner of the property on which the well is to situated. Your well driller may be able to complete the form for you but you will still be required to sign the form.

Application for Wells Works Permit


Application Assessment

Applications are considered in accordance with Section 135B of the Water Management Act 1999. The proposed site and volume of water take will be assessed to determine whether or not the risk to the environment or other users is acceptable. This assessment includes many different factors and an NRE Tasmania officer may contact you to clarify details or suggest different options regarding your application.

See the Application Assessment Fact Sheet for more information.

Well Works Permits Application Assessment (124 KB)



A Well Works Permit is not required for the construction of wells where the purpose is not to take groundwater. This includes most environmental, geotechnical, engineering and mineral exploration drilling activities.

Taking water from a well

A Well Works Permit is a permit to construct a well but is not a licence to take water.

However, under Part 5 of the Act, an owner or occupier of land may take groundwater from the land for any purpose, unless an order has been made to appoint the area a Groundwater Area under section 124A of the Act, and the order also provides that groundwater may not be taken from that Groundwater Area without the authority of a licence.

Parts of the State will be progressively appointed as Groundwater Areas in coming years to allow groundwater management provisions to be introduced where these are required.

Provision of Information

The licensed well driller constructing any well must inform DPIPWE of:
  • the location of the well;
  • the depth of the well and the level of the water in the well;
  • details of cuttings and other materials obtained during the construction of the well; and
  • the analysis of any water obtained from the well.
The licensed driller must complete a drilling log on the approved form and should supply a copy of this log to the landholder. An example of a completed driller's log is below.

Example of completed driller's log (752 KB)

  List of operators licenced to drill for water in Tasmania   (93Kb)

Basic groundwater information supplied by drilling companies using the driller's log form is available on the Groundwater Information Access Portal at: http://wrt.tas.gov.au/groundwater-info

Further Information

Phone 1300 368 550  - request to be put through to the Water Operations Branch.

​​Email: Water.Operations@dpipwe.tas.gov.au


The Frequently Asked Questions Fact Sheet provides answers to common questions.

Wells Works Permits FAQ (126 KB)