Authorisations for surface water, overland flow and non-associated underground water

Entitlements for surface water, overland flow water and non-associated underground water are managed under the same processes that apply to all rural water users, and come with the same rights and obligations.

Authorisations to take water

Surface water and overland flow

You will generally need an authorisation to take surface water and overland flow water. The requirements depend on the water plan in the catchment where the project is located.

Non-associated underground water

If you plan to take underground water, you'll need an authorisation if you are in an area where underground water is managed. Check the water plan for any management rules, as well as the list of declared underground water areas in the Water Regulation 2016, Schedule 17.

Water plans and underground management areas can be viewed on Queensland Globe.

Note: Following changes to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004, authorities issued under this Act now require an authorisation (i.e. water licence or permit) to take non-associated underground water if they are located in a regulated underground water area. As a transitional measure, relevant petroleum authority holders in the Surat Cumulative Management Area have been given until December 2021 to apply for a water licence or permit to cover their existing take of non-associated underground water.

Authorisations to interfere with water

Water licences may be required for watercourse diversions and impoundments.

In some circumstances, the diversion may be authorised under an environmental authority process. Otherwise, a separate water licence will be required under the Water Act 2000.

If you are excavating or placing fill in rivers or lakes you will generally need a riverine protection permit.

Development approvals for water-related works

Water-related works, such as water bores, wells or dams, may need a development approval under the Planning Act 2016 if located outside of the resource tenure. These are administered by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

Summary of requirements

Type of water Used forAuthorisations
Surface water, overland flow, underground water Emergencies, firefighting, disaster preparation and recovery Generally not required
Surface water, overland flow, non-associated underground water Consumptive uses Allocation, licence or permit to take water required – check the water plan and the Water Regulation
Development approval for associated works, such as pumps and bores may be required
Surface water Watercourse diversions Water licence may be required unless the diversion is authorised by your environmental authority
Development approval to construct associated works may be required
Surface water Excavations, placing fill or interfering with native vegetation in watercourses, lakes and springs Riverine protection permit usually required