Proposed change to water licence application process in the Central Adelaide area
Consultation has concluded
This engagement has now closed
What is being decided?
How can your input influence the decision?
Want to know more?
Adelaide’s groundwater supports our industry, our households, and our parks and gardens. The groundwater resource was prescribed on 7 June 2007 to ensure that there is enough water to meet the needs of all users and the environment.
The Central Adelaide Prescribed Wells Area (CAPWA) covers the Adelaide metropolitan area to the east of the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges, to the Onkaparinga River in the south, and to Port Adelaide and Gawler in the north and northeast (respectively). The Central Adelaide PWA sits adjacent to the Northern Adelaide Plains PWA and the Western Mount Lofty Ranges Prescribed Wells Area. A small section of Dry Creek, between the Central Adelaide PWA and Northern Adelaide Plains PWA, is separately prescribed as the Dry Creek PWA. Download the map here (PDF 500KB).
Now that the CAPWA is prescribed, licences (or a licence application) are required to use groundwater for any purpose other than stock and domestic use (unless you are authorised to use groundwater under Section 128 of the Natural Resources Management Act 2004).
In 2007, the State Government sought water licence applications from users of groundwater. During the 6 month application period, all persons who used groundwater for a ‘licensable’ purpose (or made a significant commitment to using groundwater) during the period 1 July 2002 to 30 November 2005 were encouraged to apply for a licence. Groundwater used for anything, other than household domestic use or the watering of stock (see definition below), is considered to be a licensable use(definitions of stock and domestic use and licensable use are provided below).
Applications were sought through a variety of means including letters to known users, newspaper advertisements and other general public notices. The State Government is currently assessing the approximately 380 applications that were submitted at the time.
The SA Government has become aware of a number of persons (or businesses) that qualify for a groundwater licence who did not apply for a water licence during the application period in 2007. A person/entity is deemed to qualify for a groundwater licence if they used Central Adelaide groundwater (or made a commitment to using groundwater) for a ‘licensable’ purpose during the period 1 July 2002 to 30 November 2005.
The State Government is proposing to re-open the application period to allow these qualifying users to access their rightful share of the Central Adelaide groundwater resource into the future.
Importantly, the re-opening of the application period would not allow any ‘new’ users to apply for a water licence, only those qualifying Central Adelaide groundwater users who did not apply in 2007 would be able to submit an application. The same eligibility/assessment criteria would apply for the second 6 month application period was applied in 2007. The new application period will not influence the determination of water licence applications that were submitted in 2007.
What is stock and domestic use?
Water used for stock and/or domestic purposes is not a licensable use in CAPWA.
- ‘Stock’ use means watering stock, other than stock subject to intensive farming.
- 'Domestic' use includes normal household use, including watering up to 0.4 hectares of land solely in connection with a dwelling.
If you wish to use groundwater for stock or domestic purposes you are still required to obtain a Well Construction Permit prior to the installation of any well.
What is a licensable purpose?
The taking of any groundwater, aside for stock and domestic use, is a licensable purpose and requires a water licence. This would include the taking of water for industrial use, irrigating turf and gardens greater than 0.4 hectares in size, and irrigating crops.