Water licensing policies
The following policies have been developed to provide:
in relation to water licensing in the Northern Territory (NT).
View the current water allocation policies.
This Water Resources division policy provides guidance for the appointment and conduct of authorised officers under the Water Act 1992.
This Water Resources division policy supports the division’s regulatory functions under the water legislation (Act and regulations). The policy ensures regulatory action achieves the protection, fair allocation, and management of water resources for the benefit of all Territorians.
The policy provides guidance on the principles, processes and actions to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act. This policy commences from 26 November 2020.
View the compliance and enforcement policy .
The policy specifies that regulatory resources will be prioritised based on the current compliance and enforcement priorities 2021 to 2026.
The Water Resources compliance plan 2022 is published each year to highlight what we will be doing to deliver on the compliance and enforcement priorities.
Each year we publish a report card that explains how we performed in delivering the compliance and enforcement priorities. The first report card was published in 2021.
This NT Government policy clarifies the process for transitioning water extraction licence applications for mining activity and petroleum activity, as defined in the Water Act 1992, into the Territory's water regulation framework.
This departmental operational policy provides guidance and consistency in approach for use by the department to verify a previously authorised licensed entitlement for a mining activity or a petroleum activity.
View the verifying previously authorised water entitlements for mining and petroleum activities policy .
Get a print friendly version of the mining activities: previously authorised water entitlements fact sheet .
This NT Government policy provides guidance on the water licence application and assessment processes.
This policy applies from 1 July 2020.
The Water Act 1992 requires the controller of water resources to publish notices relating to water extraction licences in a newspaper circulating in the general locality to which the application relates.
This operational policy outlines how the department determines which newspaper a water licence notices will be published in, based on how the water is intended to be used, the significance of the application and the location of the resource to which the application relates.
This NT Government policy outlines when the controller of water resources will consider commencing a process for the recovery of unused licensed water entitlements.
This departmental operational policy provides guidance and consistency in approach for use by the department to calculate unused licensed water entitlements.
Get a print friendly version of the recovery of unused water fact sheet .
These guidelines describe staged water extraction licences and their application in the NT.
This NT Government policy provides guidance to the controller of water resources on the trading of licensed water entitlements in the NT.
This policy applies from 21 July 2020.
It does not apply to trade applications accepted by the department as complete on or before 20 July 2020.
View the trading licensed water entitlements policy .
To read more water trading information, go to the Northern Territory Government website.
This NT Government policy expired on 1 March 2019. It is provided here for reference purposes only.
It was in place to guide the prioritisation and assessment of groundwater licence applications in the Darwin Rural Water Control District (DRWCD) received as a result of the revocation of the exemption from the requirement to hold a licence that applied to bores equipped to pump 15 litre per second or less.
There were 272 licences issued in terms of this policy when it was in effect.
View the superseded Darwin rural water licensing policy .
Darwin rural water licensing policy: verifying water requirements
This operational policy was used to support licensing activities associated with the implementation of the Darwin rural water licensing policy. The operational policy therefore expired with that policy on 1 March 2019. It is provided here for reference purposes only.
The operational policy was in place to assist in verifying water requirements for existing activities that required licensing following the revocation of the exemption that applied to bores equipped to pump 15 litre per second or less.
View the superseded Darwin rural water licensing: verifying water requirements policy .
Management of unused licensed water entitlements policy
This NT Government policy applied from 17 April 2019 to 20 July 2020 and described the framework for the management of unused licensed water entitlements in the NT in accordance with the Water Act 1992. It was superseded by the recovery of unused licensed water entitlements policy.
View the superseded management of unused licensed water entitlements policy .
Prioritising water extraction licences policy
This NT Government policy applied from 1 December 2018 to 1 July 2020 when it was superseded by the processing water extraction licence applications policy .
View the superseded prioritising water extraction licence applications policy .
Special circumstances for longer licence terms
This ministerial guidance policy was established by the minister on 2 October 2020. It provides general guidance around some circumstances that the minister may consider comprise 'special circumstances' under the Act related to public water supply and 10-year licence renewals. However, as required by the water legislation, the minister must consider any application for 'special circumstances' for a longer licence term on a case-by-case basis and on its individual circumstances at any time.
Last updated: 23 August 2022
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