The protection of the state's drinking water is of the highest priority.
Proclamation is a legal process that makes managing water resources the Department of Water's responsibility. This means the department can actively manage water resources by using a system of licences. Once an area is proclaimed, certain water users require a licence.
Under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914, it is illegal to take water from a proclaimed watercourse or groundwater without a licence.
Applications for water licences are made through the department's regional offices.
Water can be taken from watercourses in unproclaimed areas without a licence as long as the flow is not 'sensibly diminished' and affecting the rights of downstream users.
Water can be taken from an underground water source in an unproclaimed area without a licence, where the original water sourced is non-artesian.
Department of Water regional offices