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National Water Account 2018

Daly: Water rights

  • Licences to take water for consumptive use are administered by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • The volume of water entitled to be taken from the Tindall and Oolloo aquifers varies annually depending on flow in the Katherine River.


For further information about the region's water rights scroll down this page or click on the links below:


Operating rules and constraints

  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources controls the taking of water through water allocation planning and licensing arrangements. Water can only be taken from designated water management areas within the region when a licence is issued.
  • Under the Water Allocation Plan: Tindall Limestone Aquifer (Katherine) and the Water Allocation Plan: Oolloo Aquifer (draft), the maximum annual volume of water available from these sources varies depending on the flow in the Katherine River. The extraction limits are advised on an annual basis to all licence holders.
  • For more information on operating rules, see Water Licensing and Permits on the Northern Territory Government website.


Water entitlements and other statutory water rights

  • The Department of Environment and Natural Resources administer water licences that specify the conditions, length of tenure, and volume of water that may be taken on an annual basis, referred to as the 'annual water entitlement'.
  • Under the Water Act 1992, no licence is required for the 'riparian right' use of water that is an incident of land ownership. The Act also exempts small-scale rural stock and domestic and other small volume groundwater uses from requiring a licensed water entitlement.


Water allocations

  • Annual water allocations represent the quantity of water available after environmental water provision and domestic requirements are met and are determined and announced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources before 1 May each year.
  • The Tindall (Katherine) and the draft Oolloo water allocation plans set down extraction limits for entitlements from the respective aquifers. These limits are updated annually.
  • The announced allocation is a percentage of the maximum annual entitlement prescribed in the licence. Licensees are entitled to take the full allocation amount, but must adhere to monthly limits during the year.
  • For current annual allocations, see the Water access and use note in 'Supporting information'.


Trades and water rights transfers

  • The Water Act 1992 permits the trading and transferring of licences but only within the same water management area and subject to compliance with the other conditions of the Act and other administrative issues. Trades or transfers cannot be made between different water management areas.
  • Further information on water trading in the Daly region is provided in Part 7 of the Water Allocation Plan: Tindall Limestone Aquifer (Katherine).