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Approval to use water from the Great Artesian Basin

As a landholder, you must apply for a licence or permit to take water from the Queensland Great Artesian Basin (GAB), unless yours is one of a limited number of activities not requiring authorisation.

Currently, there are around 6,500 licences and 21 water permits to take water from the Queensland part of the basin.

Water use in the GAB is managed through the Water Act 2000 and the Great Artesian Basin and other regional aquifers water plan.

Water licences

Water licences are issued for long-term activities. A single licence can authorise the take of water from multiple bores on the same property.

Three types of water licences are issued in the basin.

Stock and domestic licences

These restrict water use to stock and domestic purposes. They represent the majority (86%) of licences issued.

Stock and domestic licences attach to specific land parcels. They cannot be transferred to another holder, except when properties are sold or subdivided.

Volumetric water licences

These limit the volume of water that can be taken and are issued for water use by mines, businesses, local councils, feedlots and irrigators.

Volumetric water licences can be relocated, i.e. traded, either permanently or seasonally, subject to rules in the water management protocol.

Area-based licences

A small number of area-based water licences have been issued to irrigators. These specify the area of land that can be irrigated, rather than the volume of water that can be used. These are no longer being issued and cannot be traded.

Water permits

Permits are issued for temporary activities with a foreseeable end date. Permits cannot be relocated, traded, amended, renewed or suspended. Permits specify the location of take, an expiration date and the conditions attached to the permit.

Bore requirements

You will usually require development approval to construct a new bore. The water management protocol specifies minimum distances between bores to limit any effect on existing bores.

Bores must be constructed by licensed bore drillers and meet minimum construction standards. The bore must be lined and artesian bores need a flow control mechanism.

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