Apply for a bore work permit

A bore work permit can allow you to do the following:

  • drill and construct a new or replacement bore
  • remove, replace, alter, slot or repair the casing, lining or screen of bore
  • alter or deepen a bore
  • decommission, plug, backfill or seal off a bore.
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You need a permit to construct or do work on a water bore in water control districts in the Northern Territory (NT).

As there some exceptions, read  the below 'when you don't need a permit' before you apply.

If you are unsure, you can contact water.licensing@nt.gov.au.

You don't need a permit if you are in a water control district and:

  • you will be cleaning out a bore (air lifting)
  • the bore or proposed bore is not more than three metres deep
  • the bore is outside of a water control district
  • the bore is constructed or used (including to supply water) for the purposes of:
    • laying water supply or sewerage pipes or other pipes and cables associated with water, gas or electricity supplies or telephonic or electronic communications
    • carrying out site investigations for or constructing, the foundations of a building, road or cutting
    • extracting water from the area occupied by the foundations of a building, road or cutting
    • locating materials necessary for the construction of a road or earthen structure
    • a drain under the control of a public authority.

To apply you must follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the application

Application for a bore work permit PDF (194.2 KB).

New construction

If you are applying to drill and construct a new bore you will need to attach a scaled map to your application that shows:

  • the proposed location of your bore
  • key landmarks
  • a North point.

You can view the location of registered bores on the Natural Resource (NR) Maps website.

Find out more about bore construction.

Existing bores

You will need to include your bore number on the application. This starts with 'RN' and should be displayed on your bore.

To find your RN number go the know your bore page on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources website. You can search using your address.

Step 2. Submit

Submit your application to Water Resources.

Applications will take up to two weeks to process.

You will receive a bore work permit. You must adhere to the conditions of your permit.

It is an offence to do bore work without authorisation or to make changes to a bore work permit.

View an example of a bore work permit PDF (133.0 KB).

You will need to engage an NT licensed driller and provide them with a copy of your permit.

Commercial water use

A bore work permit does not grant a right to take water from a bore.

Taking water from a bore for commercial purposes or for irrigating a domestic garden greater than 0.5 hectares requires a water extraction licence.

Last updated: 20 December 2019

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