Water bores

This guide explains how to drill for water, licensing requirements, as well as construction standards and troubleshooting.

Water bores in Queensland deeper than 6m (including monitoring bores) must be constructed by, or under the supervision of, a licensed water bore driller. An exception to this is when a water bore is drilled by a coal seam gas company for their use.

Waterbore drillers must have the correct licence endorsements for:

  • drilling, deepening, enlarging or casing a water bore
  • removing, replacing, altering, or repairing the casing, lining or screen of a water bore
  • decommissioning a water bore.

Refer to the Queensland list of registered water bore drillers (PDF, 168KB).

Poorly constructed water bores pose a risk to groundwater resources, and poor bore construction and decommissioning practices have caused contamination and pressure loss in many aquifers.

Putting down a water bore

You should consult our guide to drilling for water before planning to sink a water bore.

If you are planning to drill a water bore in a coal seam gas area you should also consult our safety advisory (PDF, 1.2MB) for information about gas safety management and identification of risks.

For licensing and construction requirements in your area contact your local business centre.

Information to assist with your enquiry includes:

  • the location of the property on which you want to sink the bore - rural road address or lot on plan number
  • how you intend to use the water from the bore
  • if you have a current licence to take groundwater
  • details of your licence.

Water bore legislation

  • The right to take groundwater is either established under the Water Act 2000, or granted under a licence or water allocation. The driller's licensing requirements under the Water Act ensure all water bore drillers are properly skilled and that their work meets minimum standards.
  • The right to construct works to take the water can be subject to the provisions of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. Under this Act, you may require a development permit before you can sink a water bore. A development permit can contain construction specifications.
  • Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, all people have a duty to take reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise the environmental harm resulting from their actions. This general environmental duty applies to all drilling activities. Further requirements on drilling activities may be set through development permit conditions, environmental authorities or environmental protection orders.


General enquiries 13 QGOV (13 74 68)