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The aim of this requirement is to protect water resources by licensing abstraction of water for irrigation. Licensing of water for irrigation ensures that flows are maintained to benefit all water users, the environment and biodiversity. It applies if 20 cubic metres or more of water is abstracted each day for any purpose, including irrigation.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) licences abstraction in Wales to protect the environment.

Main requirements

  • An abstraction licence issued by NRW is required to abstract 20 cubic metres (4,400 gallons) or more of water per day from inland water (such as a river or stream) or an underground source (such as well or borehole) for any purpose, including irrigation.
  • Comply with the conditions within any water abstraction licence issued for irrigation purposes.

Field checks

  • Check that the necessary licence has been obtained.
  • Check the conditions of the licence are being complied with.
  • Confirm that any notices issued regarding the use of irrigation water have been complied with.

Good practice

  • Contact NRW to check whether you abstract water in an area that requires a licence, before you abstract water.

Further information

For further information please contact:

  • Welsh Government
  • Natural Resources Wales

or see Cross compliance: useful contacts (2024) factsheet within this pack.