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Water access licence register

A register of water access licences, called the WAL Register began on 1 July 2004 under the Water Management Act 2000. The WAL Register is designed to provide a record of every water access licence in New South Wales and is now available online. More detailed information is available on the Registrar General's Directions website.

The aim of the WAL Register is to:

  • Make information on water access licences easily available to WaterNSW and to the public
  • Provide a secure system for water access licence information
  • Reduce conveyancing costs and
  • Help to develop a market in water access licences.

The WAL Register is maintained by NSW LRS on behalf of the Minister administering the Water Management Act 2000. NSW LRS print and issue WAL certificates.

The WAL Register has a separate record for each water access licence issued (called hereafter a WAL folio). Each WAL folio has a unique number for identification purposes, the first being 'WAL1'.

The WAL folio shows water access licence details such as:

  • share component (volume)
  • extraction component
  • water source
  • expiry date and
  • conditions.

The WAL folio also shows:

  • current ownership details
  • mortgages, charges and related information and
  • a licence reference number.

A duplicate of the WAL folio (called the WAL certificate) is issued to the licence holder, or any other party entitled to hold the WAL certificate, e.g. the mortgagee. The WAL certificate is required when you register certain transactions such as a transfer, mortgage or charge.

The information shown on the WAL Register is not guaranteed like the Torrens Title Register for land held under the Real Property Act 1900. You must search all of the transactions registered on the WAL folio to establish if they are legal and form an unbroken 'chain of title', similar to transactions affecting Old System land registered in the General Register of Deeds. The historical title search for the WAL folio provides the list of transactions.

The WAL Register begins with water access licences associated with the 36 existing water-sharing plans, comprising approximately 16,000 licences. As other water sharing plans are developed, water access licences covered by those plans will be added to the WAL Register.

Searches of the WAL Register

Searches of the WAL Register can be made over the counter at NSW LRS Queens Square, Sydney or you can search the Register through the authorised information broker network.

Transactions affecting the WAL Register

Water access licence transactions, including transfers of ownership, mortgages, charges, caveats and related transactions are registered on the appropriate folio of the WAL Register using approved forms called WAL dealings. Other transactions requiring the Minister's Consent will also need to be lodged, as detailed in the role of WaterNSW below.

Registration of transactions require lodgment of WAL dealings, together with the relevant WAL Certificate(s) at NSW LRS Queens Square, Sydney. On lodgment, WAL dealings will be given a unique number and the transaction recorded on the WAL Register. Following registration, a new edition of the WAL certificate will be issued to the entitled party.

WAL dealing forms and instructions for completion are available on the forms page. WAL dealing information is also available on the Registrar General's Directions website.

WAL Register transaction fees

By agreement with WaterNSW the fee for WAL searches will be the same as the fees applicable for equivalent Torrens title searches. Fees for lodgment of WAL dealings are not equivalent to lodgment fees applicable for dealings lodged under the Real Property Act 1900. This is because a Torrens Assurance Fund levy of $4.00 is included in the fee for each Real Property Act dealing. As indefeasibility of title is not yet offered for water access licences, no levy is applied to WAL dealings.

For current transaction fees on the WAL Register see the WAL register fees page.

Please note licensing and other fees are applied by WaterNSW.

Role of WaterNSW

WaterNSW maintains overall responsibility for accepting and assessing applications to change water access licences including:

  • Change of water source (eg from a regulated river to a connected unregulated river).
  • Change of category (eg from general security on a regulated river to high security).
  • Subdivision, ie dividing the water access licence into parts (e.g. a licence for 10 unit shares divided into one licence for 7 unit shares and another licence for 3 unit shares).
  • Consolidation, ie amalgamation of a number of water access licences into one.
  • Change of nominated water supply works, ie changing the location from which water may be extracted.

Once approved, WaterNSW will provide a Notification dealing form to the applicant for lodgment with NSW LRS for updating of the WAL Register.

WaterNSW  will provide an Application number for inclusion on or with the transfer form where the written consent of the Minister for Water is required for a change of the holder. Where applicable, the requirement for Minister's consent will appear on the WAL folio. The written consent of term transferees, mortgagees and chargees is also required for certain transactions.

Under the Water Management Act 2000, other information is required to be kept apart from the information maintained on the WAL Register.

The NSW Water Register maintained by WaterNSW provides information about:

  • the status of approvals and approval applications
  • the conditions of water access licences and approvals
  • available water determinations
  • water trading statistics.

Further Information

For further information on the WAL Register and associated transactions, contact our Customer Service Centre on T: 1300 052 637 or visit our Client Service Counter, ground floor, 1 Prince Albert Road Queens Square, Sydney.

For further information on all other matters relating to the Water Management Act 2000, telephone WaterNSW on 1300 662 077 or visit the WaterNSW website:

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