32.1 Other statutory surface water rights

Supporting information

Other statutory surface water rights in the Sydney region are made up of two main categories: cultural rights and riparian rights (described below). The total volume for this line item is 32,529 ML.


Cultural right

Cultural basic right allows abstraction of water for anyone who holds native title with respect to water, as determined under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth). The right holders can take and use water for a range of needs without holding a water access licence. This includes accessing water for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes such as:

  • manufacturing traditional artefacts
  • hunting, fishing and gathering
  • recreation
  • cultural
  • ceremonial.

As recorded by the New South Wales Office of Water, there is a 27 ML (based on a 0.073 ML/d rate) cultural basic right available to abstract water from the Kangaroo River water source in the Sydney region (Water Sharing Plan for the Kangaroo River Water Source). No cultural basic rights are estimated to occur in other areas of the region.


Riparian right

Under the Water Management Act 2000 (New South Wales), a riparian right (also defined as a basic right) allows an owner or occupier of land that is overlaying an aquifer or has river, estuary, or lake frontage to take water without a licence under a domestic and stock right to meet basic requirements for household purposes (non-commercial uses in and around the house and garden) and for watering of stock. This water cannot be used for irrigating crops or garden produce that will be sold or bartered, washing down machinery sheds, or intensive livestock operations.

As recorded by the New South Wales Office of Water, there is 32,502 ML of water available under riparian rights in the Sydney region.

For more information on this volume see line item 17.6 Surface water diversions - other statutory rights.