Water Licences Do's and Don'ts

​Your water licence gives you 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. To be compliant with your water licence, you need to take the​ specified amount of water from the named water source at the right time.

You do need a water licence to...

  • take water from a water source for agricultural or other commercial purposes
  • take water directly to a farm from a water source
  • take water by pumping into a dam from a water source
  • take water for stock and domestic purposes if your property does not have riparian rights (riparian generally means if a stream is within or on a property title boundary)

You don't need a water licence to...

  • take groundwater for any purpose, unless in a groundwater area or required under a Water Management Plan
  • take water directly to general small-scale hydroelectricity provided the requirements of the Act are satisfied (NRE Tas​ can provide advice)
  • take limited volumes of water for stock and domestic purposes is you have riparian rights
  • take water for firefighting

NRE Tas generally assumes most licence holders do the right thing most of the time. Education and informal warnings are often the first step taken with any licence compliance activity.

Formal action may be taken if a licence holder either intentionally or consistently breaches their licence. Formal action includes fines and a system of demerit points similar to that used in traffic offences.

More information on water licences including a schedule of penalities for non-compliance is available on the attached factsheet.

  Water licence dos and donts   (349Kb)



Water Enquiries

GPO Box 44,
Hobart, TAS, 7001.