Manage your water abstraction or impoundment licence online

Use this service to view and share your licence information and to submit abstraction returns.

Applies to England

You can manage your licence by creating an online account. Once you have an account you will be able to:

  • submit returns
  • view your licence information
  • give other people access to manage your licence and returns

Submit abstraction returns

Most abstraction licences will ask you to submit a record of your abstraction (a return) to the Environment Agency. Even if you have not taken any water, you must submit a nil return if your licence states that you must report your water use.

You can now do this online.

Deadlines for returns

Returns are due before 28 April and 28 November, depending on the terms of your licence.

Your paper licence

The information included in this service does not replace or affect the legal (paper) copy of the licence issued to you. The information must be used for reference only. You must refer to and comply with the licence issued to you as a paper copy when you make decisions about abstracting or impounding water.

Modernising the service

Modernising the water resources licensing service is just one part of the Water abstraction plan: Abstraction licensing service.

From April 2022, some licence holders will get water abstraction alerts by email. We send water abstraction alerts to licence holders with ‘hands-off’ conditions when:

  • a restriction is likely to come into force
  • we have put a restriction in place
  • abstraction can begin again

We can send email alerts more quickly than postal alerts. This means licence holders and operators:

  • are better able to prepare for any disruption to abstracting
  • can quickly start taking water again once river flows or groundwater water levels have recovered

We will contact you to tell you how to opt-in to the email alerts.

Published 27 March 2018
Last updated 14 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added information about water abstraction alerts. This service begins from April 2022.

  2. You can now submit abstraction returns online. If you usually submit returns via the Generic Operator Returns (GOR) online service, sign up to this new service.

  3. Added section 'About this digital service'.

  4. First published.