Water extraction licence security categories

Licence security categories don't apply to arid zone (south of Larrimah) water extraction licences, where water availability is generally the same each year.

In the Top End, north of Larrimah, water availability changes each year depending on the Wet Season. The extraction limit on a licence can change depending on how much rainfall and groundwater recharge occurs. 

Licence security categories can be specified in Top End groundwater and surface water extraction licences.

Types of security category

The four types of security category are:

  • total - public water supply
  • high - or priority
  • medium - or general
  • low.

How licence securities work

Licence security categories prioritise how the available water resource is shared between all water extraction licences.

Security categories set the order in which licences will be reduced in drier years when there is not enough water available in the resource to provide environmental flows, as well as meet the demand from users.

When this happens, licences will be reduced until environmental flows are protected. 

Low security licences are reduced first. If environmental flows are still not protected then medium security licences are reduced next, followed by high security and finally total security if needed. 

Licence holders are told on 1 May each year about any reductions that apply to their licence for the following 12 months.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017