Apply for a Waterwell License

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License classifications

(The following license classifications are relevant to WA, NT, SA, Qld, ACT, Vic, and Tas. For information on NSW license classes, please contact NSW State Authority)

Under the current system, waterwell drillers’ licenses are classified according to the type of aquifers and are endorsed with the drilling methods that may be used. This ensures the skills, knowledge and experience of a driller will match the groundwater protection requirements.

The classifications are:

  • Class 1: restricted to drilling operations in single non-flowing aquifer systems (water table aquifers).
  • Class 2: in addition to operating in class 1 conditions, permits drilling operations in multiple non-flowing aquifer systems (confined aquifers).
  • Class 3: in addition to operating in class 1 and 2 conditions, permits drilling operations in flowing aquifer systems (artesian aquifers).

For a breakdown of the skills and knowledge required of applicants, click here.


License endorsements

For each class, an applicant must have completed the previous class and relevant endorsements.

Waterwell drillers licenses have endorsements that indicate the method(s) of drilling which the license holder is licensed to use in the development of waterwells. Each license holder must have at least one method of endorsement.

Endorsements are independent of the class of license and can be added to an existing license. Additional endorsements may also be added as needed.

Endorsements do not change for class of license – the same endorsement can apply to class 1, 2 or 3. Applicants only need to complete their endorsement once.

The drilling method endorsements are: cable tool, rotary mud, auger, sonic, and rotary air.


Upgrading a license

Applicants already holding a class of license may apply to upgrade to the next class of license.

For example, an applicant holding a class 1 license may want to upgrade to a class 2 license.

Once they have applied, the applicant is required to complete the class 2 examination and any additional state requirements pertaining to the class level. The same process would apply for adding a new endorsement.


Conversion of license to a different state

Applicants already holding a license may wish to apply for an additional license in another state, this is called a conversion.

These applicants must:

  • complete a written examination
  • complete other state/territory required actions.
    The regulator will assess both an applicant’s theoretical knowledge (from the results of the examination) and their practical experience and skills when they review the application

Please note: ADIA does not issue licenses in states other than WA. The state/territory regulator issues the license.



(The following information is relevant to WA, NT, SA, Qld, ACT, and NSW. Please contact Vic State Authority for information on Vic and Tas drillers licensing exams.)

ADIA is the body which maintains and marks the examinations for National Drillers’ Licenses, in consultation with the National Uniform Drillers’ Licensing Committee.

Exam process

Before applying, applicants must approach the relevant state authority to confirm license evidence requirements.

  • Applicants download the application form (available at the bottom of this page) and send the completed form to ADIA.
  • ADIA processes the application (please allow 5 business days) and sends examination package to applicant. Exams will be emailed unless requested otherwise.
  • Applicant completes the exams and returns them to ADIA within three months. If an extension is required, please contact ADIA.
  • Exams are marked by an external marker. Please allow up to 4 weeks for marking.
  • ADIA sends the exam results to the applicant. A copy of the results and the marked exam will be sent to the state authority.
    (The state authority determines whether or not the license will be granted.)

In addition to completing the examination, the applicant must also successfully carry out other requirements set by the state’s licensing authority before a license can be granted.


Exam outcomes

Results are sent to the applicant and to the relevant state licensing board only.

  • A mark of 80% or more is required to pass.
  • If an applicant receives a mark between 70% and 79%, ADIA will automatically give the applicant the opportunity to redo the incorrect questions at no extra cost (this can only be done once). If the applicant still receives a mark below 80% it is passed on to the relevant state authority for their guidance.
  • An applicant is considered to have failed if the mark received is between 0% and 69%. If the applicant has failed then they need to wait for three months before they can re-apply.
  • A re-application costs the same as a new application. If an applicant is considered unsuccessful in the exam results, their results are referred to the relevant licensing committee or Board for a final decision.


Ready to apply?

WA APPLICANTS: Download the WA Drillers License Exam Application form here

NATIONAL APPLICANTS:  Download the National Drillers License Exam Application form here





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