Water extraction licences

Water trading

Water trading is an exchange of a water entitlement between a water licence holder and user. 

Water trading helps to maintain the total volume of water taken in an area and offers an opportunity for:

  • potential users without a water licence to get access to water
  • current water licence holders to get access to additional water 
  • current water licence holders to trade off water entitlements they don't use.

How it works

You can only trade water within a declared Water Allocation Plan area and the trade needs to comply with the rules of that water allocation plan.

Not all water extraction licences allow trading. Check the public register for approved water licenses to find licences permitted to trade water in the Northern Territory. 

Water trading can be a temporary or permanent arrangement.

If you are interested in water trading, you should:

  • identify a suitable seller or check if your water licence conditions allow trading 
  • check the water trading rules for the area
  • decide whether the trade should be temporary or permanent
  • determine the amount of water required or offered 
  • determine the duration of the requirement or offer. 

How to apply

Once you have agreed with a licence holder or user on a water trade, contact your regional Water Resources office to discuss your proposed water trade.   


For more information on water licences and water trading in the Northern Territory contact Water Resources.

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Last updated: 05 April 2017


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