Manage your water abstraction licence online

Use this service to view and share your licence information and to submit abstraction returns. Find out about water abstraction alerts.

Applies to England

You can manage your licence by creating an online account. Once you have an account you can use this service to:

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

Sign in or create an account

Submit abstraction returns

Most abstraction licences will ask you to submit a record of your abstraction (a ‘return’) to the Environment Agency each year. 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.

If you have a problem with using the online service to submit your returns, contact the Environment Agency.

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. You must refer to and comply with the paper copy of the licence when you make decisions about abstracting or impounding water. You can only use the information in the service for reference.

You cannot use the service to correct information in your licence or make changes to the conditions. See change a water abstraction or impoundment licence.

Abstraction alerts

Some licence holders can now get water abstraction alerts by email. The Environment Agency send water abstraction alerts to licence holders with ‘hands-off’ conditions when:

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

They 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

The Environment Agency will contact you to tell you how to opt-in to the email alerts.

Contact the Environment Agency

General enquiries

National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544
S60 1BY


Telephone 03708 506 506

Telephone from outside the UK (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm GMT) +44 (0) 114 282 5312

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Published 27 March 2018
Last updated 1 June 2023 + show all updates
  1. We've added contact information for if you cannot submit your returns online. We've removed information about modernising the service to keep the page focused on using the Water Resources Licensing Service and how this can benefit customers.

  2. Added information about water abstraction alerts. This service begins from April 2022.

  3. 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.

  4. Added section 'About this digital service'.

  5. First published.