Licences required for domestic and stock groundwater bores

Under the Water Act 1989 you may take water for domestic and stock purposes from a bore you own or occupy without a take and use licence.

Under the Act, a works licence is required to construct, alter, remove or decommission a domestic and stock bore greater than three metres in depth. If you don’t already have a bore, you will need a works licence for bore construction before engaging a licensed driller.

To obtain a works licence

Before drilling commences an application for a works licence to construct a bore (bore construction licence) must be submitted and approved.

To protect the groundwater resource, a bore construction licence will include conditions requiring the use of a licensed driller to ensure it is constructed to the required standard and that a bore completion report is submitted. The bore completion report is an important record of the bore’s construction for future works and assessment of future groundwater licence applications.

You can apply online for a bore construction licence via the My Water – Victorian Water Register. Or you can apply by either posting or emailing the bore construction licence application, payment and copies of supporting documents to your local Rural Water Corporation.

Benefits of applying online include:

  • the application process takes approximately 15 minutes
  • it’s free to register for a My Water account
  • the application is cheaper compared to paper applications
  • payment can be made online
  • reduced paperwork
  • licence is delivered by email
  • it’s easy to use – interactive map to show proposed location
  • you can also apply to extend or amend the licence if necessary

Note: fees for paper-based applications vary between rural water corporations.

Contact your local Rural Water Corporation prior to drilling or constructing any new bores or altering existing bores on your property. If the bore is for a purpose other than domestic and stock use, you are advised to consult with your local Rural Water Corporation before applying as there may be specific construction requirements (i.e. greater setbacks from waterways and water users).

Bore construction licence requirements

To apply for a bore construction licence the following may be required:

  • a copy of the current Certificate of Title(s) (Registered Titles search)
  • a sketch or plan showing the location of bore(s)
  • a description of the land on which the bore(s) will be constructed
  • a nominated licensed driller, to ensure the protection of underground water resources and community safety, and
  • if the bore(s) is to be constructed on land that is not in the applicant’s ownership, written consent from the owner is required.

Please note:

  • a bore construction licence must be approved and obtained prior to the commencement of drilling
  • a bore construction licence may be subject to a validity period
  • a bore completion report is required and must be submitted within 28 days of the completion of the bore. Refer to the My Water – Victorian Water Register.

What to expect

If you apply online:

  • licences may be approved and issued on the day
  • you will be notified of the outcome by email.

Once you lodge your application your local Rural Water Corporation will:

  • advise you of the outcome, when the application has been assessed.


  • A licensed driller is required to drill and construct a bore.
  • A licensed driller cannot drill the bore before a bore construction licence is obtained.
  • Licence conditions must be met (for example, setbacks from waterways and other bores).
  • After a bore is constructed, the driller must lodge a bore completion report within 28 days.

Useful links

For further information on bore construction licensing in Victoria:

Other DELWP resources:


means any bore, well or excavation or any artificially constructed or improved underground cavity used or to be used for the purpose of —

(a) the interception, collection, storage or extraction of groundwater; or

(b) groundwater observation or the collection of data concerning groundwater; or

(c) the drainage or desalination of any land; or

(d) in the case of a bore that does not form part of a septic tank system, the disposal of any matter below the surface of the ground; or

(e) the recharge of an aquifer — but does not include a bore that is used solely for purposes other than those specified in paragraphs (a), (b) and (d)

Domestic and stock use

in relation to water, means use for —

(a) household purposes; or

(b) watering of animals kept as pets; or

(c) watering of cattle or other stock; or

(ca) in the case of the curtilage of a house and any outbuilding, watering an area not exceeding 1.2 hectares for fire prevention purposes with water obtained from a spring or soak or water from a dam; or

(d) irrigation of a kitchen garden — but does not include use for dairies, piggeries, feed lots, poultry or any other intensive or commercial use


means any water occurring in or obtained from an aquifer and includes any matter dissolved or suspended in any such water.



(a) reservoirs, dams, bores, channels, sewers, drains, pipes, conduits, fire plugs, machinery, equipment and apparatus, whether on, above or under land; and

(b) works described in section 10, whether on, above or under land; and

(c) fencing

Page last updated: 23/07/21