Onshore petroleum and water resources
Protection of the water resources is the Department of Water’s priority. Accordingly, as the state’s lead agency for water, the department will actively shape whole-of-government policy and practice on water resources management relating to onshore petroleum. This will be done in addition to our statutory functions by providing leadership and active advice, supported by good science, for the benefit of the community, government, proponents and decision-making authorities.
Our regulatory role
We regulate the taking of water for the purposes of exploring and extracting onshore petroleum where that water is sourced from a proclaimed groundwater or surface water resource. The department administers the licensing and permitting provisions of the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914, including assessment of applications for:
- section 26D licence to construct or alter a bore for the taking of water
- section 5C licence to authorise the taking of water needed for drilling the petroleum well and make up the hydraulic fracturing fluid
- permit to disturb, destroy or interfere with the bed or bank of a water course.
Applications for these licences and permits are assessed in accordance with existing Department of Water policies and processes.
Our advisory role
A key role of the Department of Water is to provide advice to other decision making authorities and proponents on activities that have the potential to impact water resources.
We will adopt a risk-based approach when assessing and providing advice on the potential impacts of onshore petroleum activities. Our advice will focus on water protection and management, and include appropriate mitigation and remediation measures to ensure the sustainability of water resources and the environment, community and industry they support.
Advice may be provided in relation to:
- changes to legislation and supporting documents
- water planning strategies
- informing ministers and parliament
- onshore petroleum applications or proposals referred by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, the Environmental Protection Authority, the Appeals Convenor, or other agencies
- requests from proponents and/or their consultants prior to formal assessment of their proposal by the Department of Mines and Petroleum or other agencies (for example on aspects of the environmental plan required under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967)
- requests from the community, including local government authorities and interest groups.
Where to find more information
For more information on the following topics please click on the links below: