Opportunity to obtain Water Access Licences

The opportunity to purchase water access licences across 55 different water sources within NSW will provide added water security to existing operations, allow additional water for new or expanding business and help improve the economies of regional towns and communities.

Chief Operating Officer, NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Graham Attenborough said the water access licences, which are spread across coastal and Murray-Darling Basin water sources, would be offered through a tender process.

“Interested parties will have the chance to buy access licences in some regulated river, unregulated river and groundwater sources not included in previous controlled allocations,” Mr Attenborough said.

“The water offered in this controlled allocation comes from licences that were surrendered to the Minister for various reasons, for example where a licence holder gives up a licence because they no longer need it.”

This new controlled allocation order made on 4 March is the first controlled allocation order made in 2022 and separate from the controlled allocation order for groundwater in October 2021 that is currently being implemented.

A minimum price has been set for shares in each water source. The shares in these water sources will be offered in order of highest to lowest bids at or above the minimum price until all shares are exhausted or all bids are satisfied.

“Tenders for water access licences in previous controlled allocation processes have attracted diverse interest,

ranging from various agricultural industries to mining companies,” Mr Attenborough said.

“The release of these shares will provide another opportunity for new or expanding businesses in regional and urban areas to buy water, which is important given that opportunities to buy water through the trading market are limited in many areas of NSW.”

Mr Attenborough continued, saying controlled allocations of groundwater began in 2009 and have continued to allow additional sustainable access to water for urban, regional and rural industries and communities.

This upcoming controlled allocation will also include surface water, providing more opportunities to meet the

evolving needs of businesses and communities,” said Mr Attenborough.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment invites interested parties to register their interest during the registration of interest period, which will run from 18 March to 18 April 2022.

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