Licence amendments and renewals
Frequently asked questions
How often do I need to renew my licence or permit?
Licences to construct or alter wells and permits are issued for a period long enough to complete the proposed work, and do not need to be renewed. This is typically around 12 months, unless specifically requested otherwise. Permits cannot be renewed but a new permit can be issued if more time is required to complete the work. Licences to take water are typically issued for up to ten years, however some exceptions apply. For further information about licence tenure refer to the department's Regulatory Standard Section 5C Licence tenure.
How do I apply to amend or renew my licence to take water?
To amend your licence (e.g. to change the water entitlement, activity or water use location) or to renew your licence for another term you can apply via Water Online.
We also accept paper applications forms which may be forwarded to your local department office via post, email or fax. You need to
- complete and submit either a Form 3G (application for groundwater licences), or a Form 3S (application for surface water licences)
Note: Applications to renew a licence to take water must be submitted before the licence expiry date. It may not be possible to re-instate an expired licence. It is recommended that renewal applications are submitted 60 to 90 days prior to expiry to enable continuity of your licence. For further information refer to My licence to take water has expired. What are my options?
A licence may not be renewed if:
- it is a condition of the original licence that it is not renewable
- you have not complied with the existing terms, conditions or restrictions of the licence. Refer to My licence to take water is due for renewal but I am not using my full water entitlement? Will my licence be renewed?
- renewal would be inconsistent with the local by-laws or the relevant water allocation plan
- the department cancels the licence. Refer to In what situation would the department amend, suspend or cancel my licence or permit?.
How is my application to amend or renew a licence to take water assessed?
Applications to amend or renew a licence are assessed on an individual, transparent and equitable basis in accordance with the requirements of the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 and licensing policies and water allocation plans.
To complete the assessment of the application, the department may require further information to support your application. This may include:
- preparing an operating strategy or water conservation/efficiency plan
- providing proof of legal access to the land
- gaining approvals from other agencies (where needed)
- evidence of advertising your application (refer FAQ How to apply for a licence or permit).
- All applications are processed in the order in which they are received ('first-in first-served').
- No two applications are the same and may require different levels of assessment.
- You must adhere to the existing terms and conditions on your licence until the department has completed its assessment of your application and you have been notified in writing of the department's decision.
My licence to take water is due for renewal but I am not using my full water entitlement? Will my licence be renewed?
You may be asked to explain your water use or provide reasons if your development has not progressed as expected. This will be taken into consideration when assessing your application. In some cases the department may propose to recoup unused water entitlements.
For further information refer to our policy Management of unused licensed water entitlements.
My licence to take water has expired. What are my options?
If your licence has expired and you intend to access water you must apply for a new licence (refer How to apply for a licence or permit), or you may be liable to be prosecuted for unlicensed water use.
Note: If your water resource area has reached its allocation limit and your licence has expired, a new licence to take water may not be granted and trading or leasing water via an agreement may be your only option. Refer to FAQ Transfers, trades and agreements.
What changes can the department make to my licence?
- The department may add, remove or change the terms, conditions and restrictions of your licence. In all but an exceptional circumstance, you would be given notice of the intention to amend your licence and, in some cases, you have a right to comment or apply for a review of the decision.
- If necessary, the department can direct you to reduce the amount of water you take or change the rate at which water is pumped, or direct the purpose for which it is taken.
- If water is being wasted or improperly used, you may be directed to close a well.
In what situation would the department amend, suspend or cancel my licence or permit?
The department may propose to amend, suspend or cancel your licence or permit for various reasons, including:
- Where authorised actions (licence or permit use) have detrimental effects on others.
- To protect the water resource from unacceptable damage.
- To protect the environment from unacceptable damage.
- To prevent serious damage to life or property.
- If the water entitlement on the licence has consistently not been used.
- If it is in the public interest.
- If there is insufficient water to meet demand or expected demand.
- To more effectively regulate the use of water.
- To prevent inconsistency with a water allocation plan or by-laws.
- If a licence holder is convicted of an offence against the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914.
- To comply with another state or Commonwealth law.
- The licensee consents or the licence provides authority to do so.
Note: Under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914, you have a right to apply to the State Administrative Tribunal to request a review of any departmental amendment, suspension or cancellation of your licence or permit.