Constructing a bore

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a bore?

Bores are usually thought of as drilled holes constructed by drilling rigs. However, the definition of a bore also includes sumps, well and draglines as well any excavation used to intercept, collect and store groundwater for the purpose of taking and using it.

Do I need a Bore Construction Licence?

Any person who constructs, alters or replaces a groundwater bore greater than three metres in depth must obtain a Bore Construction Licence prior to commencing works.

How do I get a Bore Construction Licence?

A Bore Construction Licence must be obtained before any drilling occurs.

Applications to construct domestic, stock, investigation, observation or monitoring bores can now be made online through My Water instead of over the counter at GMW Customer Service Centres.

Online applications for a Bore Construction Licence cost $235, a significant saving on applying over the counter. This is a flat rate and can apply for up to 20 investigation and observation bores.

In most cases, licences are issued within minutes and are sent via email, saving on paperwork. Applications must be paid for using a credit or debit card.

Customers can still apply for Bore Construction Licences over the counter but higher application fees apply to cover administration costs, and licences cannot be issues immediately.

Many areas around Victoria have been identified as having polluted groundwater. Click here to use the EPA search tool to identify any Groundwater Quality Restricted Use Zones (GQRUZ) near your address. If your address is near a GQRUZ, the EPA tool will advise what the water can be used for. It’s your responsibility to ensure that groundwater you use is suitable for its purpose, and to treat the water if necessary. The EPA also has a Priority Sites Register which lists sites where a ‘Clean Up’ notice or ‘Pollution Abatement’ notice has been issued. This register can be found here. All questions regarding information at these sites should be directed to the EPA on 1300 372 842.


Groundwater pollution from septic tanks may occur in un-sewered areas. New bores may need to be placed away from any treatment systems. Please read our fact sheet, Constructing a bore, or contact your local council for information on placement of a bore on your property.


For over the counter Groundwater and Bore Construction Licence Application Forms click here.

To apply online for a Bore Construction Licence click here.

When can I drill and construct a bore?

You must engage a licensed driller to drill and construct the bore. Your nominated driller can not commence drilling until you have obtained a Works Licence (Bore Construction). The licence conditions must be read and understood by yourself and your nominated driller before drilling is undertaken.

When can I take and use water from my bore?

You must apply for a Licence to Take and Use Groundwater before taking groundwater from the bore for all purposes other than Domestic and/or Stock use.

Decommissioning bores

If a bore is damaged and can't be fixed, or is no longer required, it must be properly decommissioned. This prevents the bore becoming a path for contamination reaching the groundwater, potentially spoiling it for other bores. Under the Water Act 1989, a Bore Decommissioning Licence is required to decommission an existing bore.

A registered licensed driller is required to complete the proposed work of constructing a groundwater bore. A list of drillers is available from the Australian Driller's Industry Association website

For further licensing information please contact: Goulburn-Murray Water, Licensing Administration Unit, PO Box 165, TATURA VIC 3616 or call 1800 013 537