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.

You need a permit to construct or do work on a water bore located:

  • in water control districts in the Northern Territory (NT) or
  • anywhere in the NT if it relates to mining or petroleum activity.

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

If you're unsure, email

You don't need a permit if you're 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

Fill in the application for a bore work permit:

Application for a bore work permit PDF (190.7 KB)
Application for a bore work permit DOCX (71.2 KB)

New construction

If you're applying to drill and construct a new bore, you must 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 Natural Resource (NR) Maps.

Find out more about bore construction.

Existing bores

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

To find your RN number, go to Know Your Bore - you can search using your address.

Step 2. Submit the application

You must 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's 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 also 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: 29 April 2022

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