Apply for water extraction licence

You may need a licence to take surface water or groundwater in the Northern Territory (NT) if:

A water extraction licence lets you take water using a bore or river pump system.

Water licences are not attached to land, although the licence does state what property the water is to be used on.

You don't need a water licence if you're using the water for:

  • stock and domestic
  • road construction and/or maintenance.

In Alice Springs and Daly/Roper River water control districts, you don't need a groundwater extraction licence if you're using less than 5 megalitres of groundwater on your property each year.

Before you apply, you should consider all of the following:

  • a water licence is usually granted for 10 years but longer term licences can be approved in special circumstances
  • it can take at least three to four months to process your application for a new or increased licence.
  • if your application is refused, you can appeal to review a water licence decision.

You must attach all of the following with your form:

  • a map with:
    • the location of existing or proposed bores
    • the location where the water is to be used
    • the method and route of moving the water and the lands in the immediate area - this includes lot, portion, section, lease numbers and boundaries
  • a property development plan.

To apply, follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the apply to take water form:

Apply to take water form DOCX (105.2 KB)
Apply to take water form PDF (276.4 KB)

Step 2. Submit the form by emailing or by mail or in person to your local Water Resources office.

If your apply to take water form includes commercially confidential information, you can apply for this information to be withheld from the public register.

To apply, follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the commercially confidential information form:

Commercially confidential information form PDF (571.4 KB)

Commercially confidential information form DOCX (67.6 KB).

Step 2. Submit the form by emailing or by mail to:

Water Licensing and Regulation Branch
PO Box 496 
Palmerston NT 0831


For more information, email Water Resources at

Last updated: 27 October 2020

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