Water Licences and Property

​​​​A water licence gives the holder the right to take water under the Water Management Act 1999. With few exceptions, a person must have a water licence if they intend to take, divert or store surface water for commercial farming purposes. When selling a property where water is being accessed, there are a few key things that the vendor and/or agent need to be aware of.

When is a water licence needed?

  • when water is taken for agricultural or other commercial purposes either from a water course or a dam
  • if a property is non-riparian and water is taken for stock and domestic purposes

Who owns a water licence?

  • a water licence is owned by the person/s identified (or listed) on the licence
  • a water licence is not tied to a property
  • you can request a copy of a water licence from the NRE Tas water licence register 

How can a water licence be transferred?

  • by lodging a Transfer of Water Licence form signed by both parties involved
  • before a water licence can be transferred, approval must be given by NRE Tas
  • information on transfers is available at Transferring ​​Water Licences and Dam Permits​​.

What are your responsibilities?

  • before selling a property with a water licence, sight the water licence to make sure all is in order
  • confirm that the water licence is to be transferred with the property sale

If land includes the frontage of a river or lake. then there is a right to take water under Part 5 of the Act. This is commonly referred to as riparian rights. This allows water to be taken for stock and domestic use without a licence. There are limits to the volume of water that may be taken under this right, as detailed on the attached factsheet.

Riparian rights are solely for stock and domestic purposes and do not allow irrigation for the purpose of grazing animals, growing crops or for other commercial use. Domestic use may also be restricted in summer by regional water restrictions. For all other purposes, a licence is required.

More information on water licences and property, including stock and domestic amounts can be found on the factsheet.

Water Licences and Property   (2Mb)

Relevant forms can be found at Water Management Forms.