Applying for a licence or permit
These are the steps in the application process:
- Determine if you require a licence or permit for your proposal
- Register to use Water Online (Guide to registering for Water Online)
- Apply online OR Choose the correct application form(s) for your proposal
- Read the relevant application form guide
- Complete your application form and supply all supporting information, including fees if applicable
- Lodge your application with all supporting information
Do I need a licence or permit?
Water rights in Western Australia are governed by the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914. Under the Act, you may need a water licence for taking or interfering with surface water, overland flow water or groundwater.
Circumstances where you do not need a licence include:
- if your property adjoins a river or watercourse and you intend to take surface water for domestic purposes. You also can use water from springs rising to the surface of your land and wetlands that are wholly on your land, provided the resource is not 'sensibly diminished', that is, affecting the rights of downstream users.
- if you collect water runoff, as long as the off-stream dam does not intercept the watertable. However, you must comply with any other Commonwealth, state or local laws that relate to the construction or taking of water in these instances.
- if you take water from watercourses provided the flow is not 'sensibly diminished'. This right does not extend to installing structures or inferring with the watercourse.
- if you take underground water where the original source is non-artesian.
In addition, exemptions exist for monitoring bores and for domestic garden bores in non-artesian or watertable aquifers.
Proclamation is a legal process that makes managing water resources the department's responsibility. This means the department can actively manage water resources through licensing water users. Once an area is proclaimed, certain water users require a licence.
There are currently no plans to proclaim any new areas.
Types of licences
The department issues several types of water licences and permits.
A 5C licence allows the licence holder to 'take' water from a watercourse, wetland or underground source.
A 26D licence is allows for the construction or alteration of wells. This licence is needed before you:
- commence, construct, enlarge, deepen or alter any non-artesian well in a proclaimed groundwater area
- commence, construct, enlarge, deepen or alter an artesian well.
When granted, permits authorise interference or obstruction of the bed and banks of a watercourse or wetland.
The Act provides for several types of permits:
- Section 11 permit – taking of water in a proclaimed area where access is via road or crown reserve
- Section 17 permit – taking of water in a proclaimed area
- Section 21A permit –taking of water in an unproclaimed area where access is via road or Crown reserve.
See frequently asked questions for more information about whether you need a licence or permit.
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