Water extraction licences

How your application is assessed

Water extraction licences are granted on the basis that the licence holder has legal right of access to the land on which water will be taken. Read the Water Act 1992.

How the volume of water available is calculated

Licenced water entitlements are granted from the consumptive pool allocated for a water resource.

The consumptive pool is the volume of water that can be licensed after water has been allocated to the needs of the environment and other public benefits, such as cultural values.

How new or increased entitlements are assessed

See steps below for the water extraction licence assessment and decision process.

Step 1. Your application is received

The Controller of Water Resources can't refuse to accept or process an application for a new or increased licence water entitlement.

Step 2. Preliminary checks

A preliminary assessment will be carried out which includes:

  • checking the proposed water requirements and verifying that these are reasonable
  • evaluating water availability
  • evaluating the potential impacts of allocating additional water from the water source for consumptive uses.

The NT Water Allocation Planning Framework is applied in assessing the availability of water.

Where a water allocation plan has been declared, the rules of that plan are applied.

To find out more about water allocation planning, go to the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security website.

Step 3. Results of checks

You will be advised by the department of the results of the preliminary checks.

If it's recommended the licence be granted in full and you agree, then processing of the application continues.

If it's not recommended the licence be granted, you will be asked if you want to revise, withdraw or continue with the application. If you agree to proceed with either the original or a revised application then processing will continue.

Step 4. Notice of intention

Once you agree to proceed with the application, the department must publish a Notice of Intention to Make a Water Extraction Licence Decision in the NT News within 30 days.

The notice may also be published in a newspaper circulating in the general locality to which the application relates.

The department must circulate the notice to the owners and occupiers of all land adjacent to where the water is to be taken and used.

The notice must be published regardless of whether it's likely or not likely the licence should be granted.

The notice must include an invitation to make written comments about the application within 30 days of the notice being published.

Step 5. Statement of decision and grant of licence

As soon as practicable after the end of the period allowed for comments in response to the notice of intention, the Controller of Water Resources must make a decision to grant or refuse the application.

The controller’s decision must take into account all comments received along with provisions in the legislation as well as advice provided by the department.

The department will give you a response with a full statement of decision supportive of the controller’s decision.

This includes the grant of licence for successful applicants.

Step 6. Notice of decision

The department must publish a Notice of Water Extraction Licence Decision in the same newspaper or newspapers in which the initial notice of intention was published.

This must be done within 30 days of the controller’s decision.

The notice of decision includes a brief statement of the reasons for the decision and advises where a copy of the full statement of decision can be accessed.

Find out more about water extraction licence applications, including notices of intention and statements of decision for current applications.

Appeal a water licence decision

Both you, as the applicant, and members of the public have the right to apply for a decision to be reviewed.

Read how to appeal a water licence decision.

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Last updated: 08 October 2020

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