Water licences and permits

Access a water licence or permit application form now.

The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) supports the sustainable management of water in South Australia.

We do this by issuing licences and water allocations, measuring water use through metering requirements, managing water in high demand areas and securing flows for the environment.

Prescribed water resources are managed to ensure water use in these areas is sustainable. They are managed under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 and include the issuing of water licences that endorse a water entitlement.

Do you need a water licence?

Activities that require you to have a licence vary depending on the water resources prescribed within a region, but may include underground, watercourse or surface water extracted for:

Do you need a water permit?

If you are planning an activity that could impact on a water resource or an ecosystem that depends on one, you may need a permit.  Permits enable these activities to be monitored and regulated to ensure our water resources remain sustainable into the future.

Our Customer Services Branch administers permits for the following activities:

  • drilling, plugging, backfilling or sealing of a well
  • repairing, replacing or altering the casing, lining or screening of a well
  • draining or discharging water directly or indirectly into a well
  • using imported water in the course of carrying on a business
  • using effluent in the course of carrying on a business.

Similarly, water affecting activities in relation to dams and draining or discharging into any watercourse, floodplain or lake require permits that are administered through natural resources centres.

Contact your local natural resources centre to discuss your application requirements if you need a permit to undertake any of the following:

  • erect, construct or enlarge a dam
  • draining or discharging into a watercourse or lake
  • conduct a water affecting activity in a watercourse, floodplain or lake.

You may also be interested in

The current South Australian licensed water use meter specification.

Search the NRM Register for information about current permits, licences, allocations and approvals across South Australia. 

The new licensing regime now being rolled out in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Water Resource Area and Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Water Resource Area.