10% non-water user limit
This rule was removed in 2009.
When it was set at 1 July 2007 it was a limit on the proportion of the total volume of water shares in each water supply system that could be held as unassociated water shares.
In each water system there were separate 10% limits for high-reliability and low-reliability water shares.
A limit on the volume of annual net trade of the water shares out of an irrigation area in northern Victoria.
The 4% limit for each irrigation area is determined on 1 July at the start of each water year. The limit will be removed from 2014 onwards.
Sometimes called the 4% cap.
See allocation account.
1.Water that is actually available to use or trade in any given year, including new allocations and carryover.
2. The water that is actually in the dam in any given year is allocated against water shares. The seasonal allocation is the percentage of your water share volume available under current resource conditions, as determined by the resource manager.
For example, in a dry year a 50% allocation to your 100 ML water share gives you 50 ML of water available to use or trade. A 100% allocation means that you have your full water share volume available.
In northern Victoria the resource manager uses seasonal determination instead of allocation when allocating water to entitlements. Seasonal determination is the term used in bulk entitlements and Victoria’s Water Act 1989.
An account to keep track of water available for use or trade.
This account records allocations made against entitlements throughout the irrigation season, as well as water trades and use.
The allocation account is sometimes referred to as an ABA as shorthand for allocation bank account. However, the word ‘bank’ isn’t used widely anymore, as it was confused with financial banks.
Allocation bank account (ABA)
The term previously used for allocation account.
The word bank isn’t used widely anymore, as it was confused with financial banks.
But the acronym ABA is sometimes used to refer to an allocation account.
The transfer of a volume of allocation water between a seller and buyer.
Water is traded within a current irrigation season.
Previously this was known as temporary trade and some people still use this term.
Annual delivery allowance (ADA)
A volume in megalitres that can be delivered under the delivery share for a rate set by the water corporation.
Deliveries above this annual delivery allowance attract a higher casual use infrastructure fee for Goulburn-Murray Water customers.
The annual delivery allowance is determined by taking the delivery share number as expressed in megalitres per day, multiplied by 270 for irrigation areas and by 365 for pumped irrigation districts.
Annual use limit
The maximum volume of water in an irrigation season that may be used on the land described in a water-use licence or water-use registration.
Works that are used with the primary works. For example, where there is a pump on the river feeding water into a storage dam, the storage dam is an associated work.
An Authority is a bulk entitlement holder under the Water Act 1989, and includes water corporations, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and power generation companies.
A lottery used to decide the order of processing applications to transfer water shares where there is high demand and a limit has been imposed, for example the 4% limit on trade out of an irrigation area.
Usually a hole constructed by a licensed driller to reach groundwater.
Bores can also include a well or artificial excavation.
Any person who wants to drill a bore must have a works licence.
A right to use and supply water in a waterway, water in storage works of a water corporation, and groundwater.
The bulk entitlement sets out the amount of water that can be taken or stored under specific conditions or specifications, up to a maximum volume.
Water corporations and other specified bodies defined in the Water Act 1989 can hold bulk entitlements, either as a source bulk entitlement –an entitlement to harvest water directly from a water source - or a delivery bulk entitlement –an entitlement to be supplied water from another water corporation's dam or within a system regulated by the works of another corporation.
Bulk entitlements can be traded temporarily or permanently.
Bulk entitlement holder
Water corporations, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and other bodies specified in the Water Act, such as electricity companies, can hold a bulk entitlement.
Bulk entitlement holders have to meet conditions and obligations set out under the Act.
An entitlement that includes rights to allow both the take and use of water.
The most common types of bundled entitlements are take and use licences, supplies by agreement, water allowances and registration licences.
An arrangement that allows a water entitlement holder to take unused water allocations from one season into the next season to use and/or trade.
Carryover rules depend on the declared system in which allocations are held.
Water deliveries above the annual delivery allowance are called casual use, and attract a casual use infrastructure fee.
Casual use infrastructure fee
The fee that applies to each megalitre of water delivered during the season which is more than the annual delivery allowance (ADA).
A pond, lake or basin, whether natural or artificial, for the storage, regulation and control of water in an area of land where run-off from rainfall goes into one river system.
Copy of record
A copy of record contains all the details of the water entitlements recorded in the Victorian Water Register.
It can include details of the entitlement like its volume, who the owners are, water system source, and if there are any mortgages held over the entitlement.
Copies of most records of all water-related entitlements held in the Water Register can be downloaded from www.waterregister.vic.gov.au by entering the entitlement identification numbers and paying a fee.
Has been used as shorthand way of referring to a low risk of spill declaration.
This can be confused with a spill declaration, and also confused with the declaration by the Minister for Water of water systems to become unbundled.
As this can be confusing, it is better to not use this term by itself.
Declared water system
A water system that has been declared in accordance with section 6A of the Water Act 1989.
In these water systems, the old water rights and take and use licences have been converted into unbundled entitlements.
As of 2012, the declared water systems are:
Broken, Bullarook, Campaspe,
Goulburn, Loddon, Murray and Ovens which were all declared in July 2007 and the Werribee and Thomson/Macalister declared in July 2008.
A detailed description of these regulated water systems is in the declaration documents on the water reform history page.
An entitlement to have water delivered to land in an irrigation area. It gives access to a share of the available capacity in the channel or piped network that supplies water to the property.
Delivery share is defined by a rate of megalitres per day, which establishes how deliveries will be shared if everyone on the channel or piped network wants water on the same day.
Delivery share also includes an annual delivery allowance, which is based on the delivery share in megalitres per day, multiplied by the number of days in the irrigation season.
Delivery share is tied to the land and stays with the property if it is bought or sold. It also stays with the property if the water share is sold separately.
The infrastructure or river system that enables water to get to entitlement holders.
This means an irrigation area, or for a river reach for private diverters, or a catchment or aquifer.
Drainage diversion agreement
A type of supply by agreement that allows the holder to extract water for use from the water corporation’s drainage system.
End of year process
When water allocations and use are accounted for over the past year, e.g. from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012.
A right to take/use/extract/have water delivered that may be limited by conditions.
Different entitlements are necessary depending on where and how water is taken, and what it is then used for.
The most common types of entitlements are water shares, delivery shares, water-use licences, take and use licences, water allowances, supplies by agreement and works licences.
The most common entitlement types include:
Water shares (in declared/regulated systems), take and use licences, and registration licences. These entitlement types relate to a continuing right to take water.
Delivery shares – a right to have water delivered.
Water-use licences – a right to use water on land.
Works licences – a right to construct, operate or modify water extraction works, like a pump.
You can now buy and sell water entitlements separately from land in most of the big regulated water systems.
A right to water granted to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder to maintain an environmental water reserve or improve the environmental values and health of the water ecosystems and other users depending on the condition of the environment.
The Water (Resource Management) Act 2005 amended the Water Act 1989 and created the legal foundation for water to be set aside to maintain environmental values of rivers and streams.
The Minister for Water issues environmental entitlements under the Act so that water can be managed to meet needs like fish spawning triggers or maintaining critical habitats during drought.
A small percentage of unused water is deducted from an allocation account before water is carried over from one season to the next.
This represents evaporation that occurs when water is kept in storage for a longer time.
Typically, evaporation write-off is 5% in northern Victorian systems.
Better referred to as a works licence, or a works operation licence.
A share of the total amount of water that can be drawn from regulated rivers at a certain point over a given period of time.
Extraction shares are used to restrict water extraction in times of high demand.
The extraction share is expressed on a works licence.
An on-farm water storage managed by the landowner or occupier.
A fee that does not vary with the amount of water used or available to an entitlement holder. See also variable charges.
A groundwater basin is made up of one or more groundwater catchments within a geological basin. The basin may extend offshore or across state boundaries. In some cases a basin may be broken into one or more sub-basins to reflect administrative management boundaries.
A groundwater catchment is an area containing a connected groundwater resource(s), bringing together the input (recharge) areas, use (demand) areas and discharge areas.
Groundwater Management Area
An area where groundwater has been intensively developed or has the potential to be developed. It has a defined boundary, depth limits and a Permissible Consumptive Volume.
Groundwater Management Plan
A Groundwater Management Plan is developed by rural water corporations in line with guidelines specified by the Minister for Water, and signed off by the Minister.
A Groundwater Management Plan is for an area with a Permissible Consumptive Volume and includes appropriate tools for management such as trading rules, triggers for restrictions and monitoring requirements.
Groundwater Management Units
Groundwater Management Units represent Water Supply Protection Areas and Groundwater Management Areas where a Permissible Consumptive Volume, rules or plans are applied.
The Permissible Consumptive Volume is a cap on the licensed entitlement declared by the Minister.
Legally recognised, secure entitlement to a defined share of water.
Water shares are classed by their reliability, which is defined by how often full seasonal allocations are expected to be available.
Allocations are made to high-reliability water shares before low-reliability shares.
Hydro-geological or technical assessment
An assessment of the groundwater resource that has to be done before a new licence is issued or a licence transfer is approved.
Infrastructure access fee
A fixed charge that applies for each megalitre of delivery share.
The infrastructure access fee contributes to the costs of providing the irrigation infrastructure network, eg channels, pipes, automated gates.
A geographic area with defined boundaries where water is distributed using pipes and channels owned and operated by a water corporation.
Irrigation development guidelines
Operate in the Goulburn Broken, North Central, Mallee and North East catchments of northern Victoria to maintain standards for sustainable irrigation development.
They support landholders and authorities to meet irrigation planning and licensing requirements.
The guidelines are triggered by certain situations involving applications for water-use licences or variations to existing licences, and applications for works licences for irrigation.
A legal entity declared under the Water Act 1989. This gives rural water corporations rights and responsibilities to supply water by channels and pipelines mainly for irrigation purposes.
The Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District is a large district across northern Victoria that includes irrigation areas like Shepparton and Central Goulburn.
Robinvale, Red Cliffs, Merbein and Mildura irrigation districts combine to form the Sunraysia irrigation area.
The Macalister Irrigation District is the largest irrigation area south of the Great Dividing Range in central Gippsland.
Generally, a shorthand way of referring to a take and use licence.
This can be confusing, as there are other types of licences – for example, works licences and water-use licences, which are very different entitlements. To avoid confusion, it is better not to use this term by itself.
The volume in megalitres that may be taken under a take and use licence, so long as there are no allocation trades against this take and use licence.
Licence volume adjusted for allocation trade
The volume in megalitres that may be taken under a take and use licence, that has been decreased or increased if the licence holder has sold or bought some water allocation.
Limited term transfer
The transfer of a right to future allocations under a water share for a limited period to the owner or occupier of land specified in a water-use licence or registration.
This is also referred to as a lease.
Local management plan or local management rules
Local management plans or rules are developed and signed off by rural water corporations, as a delegate of the Minister for Water.
A local management plan or local management rules are for an area with a Permissible Consumptive Volume and include appropriate tools such as trading rules, triggers for restrictions and monitoring requirements.
Low risk of spill declaration
An announcement made by the resource manager for northern Victoria that there is a low risk of a spill occurring from dams.
The resource manager looks at volumes in the dams, likely inflows and expected releases.
If the risk of the dams spilling later in the season is more than 10 per cent, a declaration is not made.
A low-risk-of-spill declaration is made as soon as the risk is less than 10 per cent.
The low risk of spill declaration makes carryover water in a spillable water account available for use or trade.
This is different from a spill announcement.
A water share with a relatively low reliability of supply.
On all northern Victorian systems except the Broken and Ovens, these will be shares of the available water once there is enough water to meet higher-reliability water shares in the current year, and, with minimum inflows, to meet higher-reliability water shares in the following year.
A river that is used to deliver irrigation water.
A licence where you can extract water, but have to put it all back, for example power generation.
Non-water user limit
When a water share is not linked to any land (ie it is not linked to a water-use licence or registration), it is recorded in the ‘non water user limit’ delivery system.
A person who uses the land but does not own it.
The occupier can hold licences over the land with the owner’s permission and can apply water to the land.
A type of works licence that allows the operation of any works on a waterway (usually a pump), or a bore, or a dam.
In unbundled systems, this is now called a water share transfer or limited term transfer of a water share.
In bundled systems, this refers to permanent trade of a take and use licence.
See water entitlement. This term was previously more commonly used before unbundling in 2007 .
Using the name of the entitlement type helps avoid confusion.
Controlled releases from a storage made on the expectation that forecast inflows will replenish the volume released.
Pre-releases are used to control the rate of and to provide some space in the dam to capture floodwaters.
The Water Act 1989 allows individuals to take water for domestic and stock purposes from a range of surface water and groundwater sources without a licence.
These domestic and stock rights are defined under section 8(1) and section 8(4)(c) of the Act.
A registration licence is an ongoing entitlement to take and use water from a catchment dam, spring or soak.
Registration licences were issued between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2003 based on historical use of water.
Registration licences are not tradeable, and do not need to be renewed.
Regulated water system
A water system where the flow of the river is regulated through the operation of major storages or weirs to secure water supplies.
For example, in northern Victoria there are seven regulated water systems: the Murray, Ovens, Broken, Goulburn, Campaspe, Loddon and Bullarook.
In southern Victoria the regulated systems are the Thomson/Macalister and Werribee.
Water shares are classed according to their reliability, which is defined by the frequency with which full seasonal allocations are expected to be available.
Most water shares are classified as either high-reliability or low-reliability water shares.
Setting water aside on regulated water systems for use the following season before full allocations are made on all entitlements.
The Minister for Water appoints a resource manager to allocate water on regulated river systems in accordance with Victorian water sharing rules.
A resource manager makes seasonal determinations for regulated water systems based on water availability and water sharing rules.
The resource manager is usually the water corporation responsible for that area.
Victoria’s 29 river basins form catchment areas of the State’s major rivers either draining to the sea or the Murray River.
The movement and concentration of salts, dissolved in water, though the
landscape. Both soils and water can become saline.
A shorthand way of referring to the irrigation season. Also may be referred to as water season, or irrigation season.
The season is generally from 1 July to 30 June, but in irrigation districts may be shorter, often from 15 August to 15 May.
The percentage of water share volume available under current resource conditions determined by the resource manager for northern Victorian regulated river systems.
Since 1 July 2012 the resource manager has used seasonal determination instead of the previously used term, seasonal allocation. This is to distinguish between water available under current resource conditions and the water customers have available because of carryover.
When the resource manager for northern Victoria looks ahead to the new irrigation season and estimates indications of allocation levels for each system based on a range of seasonal conditions and scenarios.
The resource manager uses the full record of inflows into storages to assess seasonal determinations for a range of scenarios.
These are categorised as:
wet - inflow volumes that have 10 chances in 100 (or 1 chance in 10) of being exceeded
average - inflow volumes that have 50 chances in 100 (or 5 chances in 10) of being exceeded, and
dry - inflow volumes that have 90 chances in 100 (or 9 chances in 10) of being exceeded.
The first outlook for a new irrigation season starting on 1 July is usually announced around February, and updated at various times through the season.
Section 40 assessment
Section 40 of the Water Act 1989 is a list that must be taken into account when a new licence is issued or a licence transfer is approved.
Generally Section 40 matters include consideration of other people’s rights and the environment.
The location where water enters an individual farm from the communal water system. Also called an outlet.
When water is discharged from the storage when there is more water in supply than demand for water.
Spill allocation is the volume made available to customers in the Ovens and King systems while the storages in these systems are spilling.
In southern Victoria, spill is extra water that irrigators can receive on top of their normal high-reliability allocation, if their water storage overflows in spring.
For example, in the Macalister Irrigation District, any water that spills over the Glenmaggie Weir between 1 July and 15 December becomes spill entitlement.
The water must be ordered and taken through a metered outlet to be available as spill allocation to a high-reliability water share.
Southern Rural Water has a 62,000 ML cap per year as part of its bulk entitlement.
An announcement made by the resource manager that water is spilling from a dam, which has implications for the spillable water account.
This is different from a low risk of spill declaration.
In southern Victoria a spill declaration is an opportunity for irrigators to take water over and above their allocation annually (see spill entitlement).
In southern Victoria, spill is extra water that irrigators receive on top of their normal allocation, if their water storage overflows in spring.
For example, in the Macalister Irrigation District, any water that spills over the Glenmaggie Weir between 1 July and 15 December becomes spill entitlement.
The water must be ordered and taken through a metered outlet to be available as spill entitlement.
Southern Rural Water has a 62,000 ML cap per year as part of its bulk entitlement.
Water that is above entitlement volume and is quarantined in a spillable water account until the resource manager for northern Victoria declares a low risk of spill.
Spillable water account
A feature of an allocation account where spillable water is recorded before the resource manager for northern Victoria declares a low risk of spill.
It keeps track of casual access to storage space, and the water that could spill as the storages in northern Victoria fill.
Supply by agreement
An agreement between a water corporation and a person giving an entitlement to water for defined period.
Supplies by agreement usually cover less reliable water sources, like drainage water, or areas where supply is not guaranteed.
Sustainable diversion limit (SDL)
Generally, sustainable diversion limits are the maximum long-term average quantities of water that can be taken each year for consumptive use from the Murray-Darling Basin’s water resources.
The Commonwealth Water Act (2007) requires that the limits reflect an environmentally sustainable level of take.
The final Murray-Darling Basin Plan agreed by all Basin States sets a sustainable diversion limit for each catchment and aquifer in the Basin, as well as an overall limit for the whole Basin.
In northern Victoria (the southern Basin) this means a sustainable diversion limit is the upper limit on the amount of surface water and groundwater that can be taken from for consumptive use within an unregulated river sub-catchment.
Sustainable diversion limits will operate from 2019 and will replace the current cap system in the southern Basin.
A group of people who hold an entitlement together, most commonly a works licence.
Take and use licence
A take and use licence is either a fixed term or ongoing entitlement to take and use water from a waterway, catchment dam, spring, soak or aquifer.
Each licence has conditions set by the Minister for Water which are specified on the licence.
Take and use licence transfer type
There are three types of transfer for a take and use licence. Permanent volume transfer and temporary volume transfer shift part or all of the volume from one licence to another.
Change of ownership changes the ownership of a licence without affecting its volume.
Temporary water trade
This is now called allocation trade in unbundled systems.
In bundled systems, this refers to trade of water from a take and use licence for a single year.
Zones which make it simpler to manage trade by defining the area where trade can occur and if there are any set conditions.
They set out the known supply source or management arrangements and the physical realities of relevant supply systems within the zone.
Trading zone source
The trading zone that determines where the water share and allocation can be traded and where the allocation can be used.
Trading zone use
The trading zone relating to the land defined on a water-use licence/ bundled entitlement.
Refers to the change of ownership of a water share. Can also be used to refer to either temporary or permanent trade of bundled entitlements.
Water shares whose owner does not also own or occupy land covered by a water-use licence and are nominated for the water allocation use.
When the entitlement previously called a water right, or a take and use licence in a declared water system, is converted into three separate entitlements.
These are: a water share, a delivery share or extraction share in a works licence, and a water-use licence.
This occurred for declared water systems on 1 July 2007 in northern Victoria and 1 July 2008 in southern Victoria.
A river system where no major dams or weir structures have been built to regulate the supply, or extraction, of water for consumptive use.
A fee that does depend on the volume of water used.
See also fixed charges.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal
A dispute resolution service which hears and determines a wide range disputes.
These include sale and ownership of real property, use or flow of water between properties, local council land valuations and planning permits, and disciplinary proceedings across professions and industries.
Water Act 1989 (Victoria)
The legislation that governs the way surface water and groundwater entitlements are issued and allocated in Victoria.
It defines water entitlements, establishes the mechanisms for managing Victoria's water resources and relates to the governance and operation of rural and urban water corporations.
Water Act 2007 (Commonwealth)
The legislation that established the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to manage the Basin’s water resources and prepare the Basin Plan.
It also established the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to manage the Commonwealth’s environmental water, charged the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to develop and enforce water charge and water market rules and gave the Bureau of Meteorology powers to collect and publish water information.
An arrangement under which a water corporation supplies water to a customer in its water district, under terms and conditions set by the corporation.
Now called water corporations, although sometimes referred to as authorities in their role as a licensing authority.
Organisations charged with supplying water to people in towns, farmers and other water users across Victoria for urban, industrial and commercial use.
They administer the diversion of water from waterways and the extraction of groundwater.
The corporation must provide the service of delivering water to the owner or occupier of each serviced property in its irrigation district at the volumes and for the periods determined by the corporation.
A right to receive water allocations, depending on resource availability.
An unbundled water entitlement is a water share.
A bundled water entitlement may be one of several types; most commonly take and use licences, water allowances, and supply by agreements.
Generally, a shorthand way of referring to a take and use licence.
This can be confusing, as there are other types of water licences – for example, works licences and water-use licences, which are very different entitlements.
It is better to use the name of the entitlement type.
The Water Register is a public register that records water-related entitlements in Victoria.
It holds water shares recorded by the Water Registrar, together with mortgages and limited term transfers (leases) relevant to these water shares, records of licences to take and use surface water and groundwater, and records of works-related licences.
The register also holds records of water allocations available in the current season and tracks and reconciles volumes of water entitlements by water system and trading zone.
It generates statistics and reports on levels of use, directions of trade, and prices paid.
Victoria's Water Registrar records transactions on water shares including transfers, mortgages, limited term transfers and discharges of mortgage.
The Registrar is also responsible for the Water Register system and the accuracy, reliability and accessibility of records.
A water share is a legally recognised, ongoing entitlement to a share of the water available in a defined water system.
It gives the owner a right to a share of water in the dams.
The volume of a water share is defined as a maximum amount of allocation that can be made against it each year.
Features of a water share include
its water system, such as the Goulburn, Murray or Macalister;
its reliability, which can be high or low, and the volume, e.g. 100 megalitres (ML).
The transfer of ownership of a water share. When you buy water share you are not also buying the allocation. Transferring the water share does not transfer the allocation account (ABA) or any water in it.
The buyer only receives new allocation announced to the water share after the Water Registrar has recorded
Water Supply Protection Area
An area declared under the Water Act 1989 to protect the groundwater or surface water resources by developing a management plan.
Water supply system
A body of water which is managed as a unit for the purposes of supplying water users.
Water system source
River basin or groundwater management unit from where the water is sourced for regulated and unregulated systems.
Water system type
Types include regulated, unregulated, groundwater, recycled, stormwater, managed aquifer recharge and wetlands.
A licence that authorises the use of water for the purposes of irrigation on the land specified in that licence.
An authorisation to use water for purposes other than irrigation.
A river, creek, stream, watercourse and a natural channel where water regularly flows, whether or not the flow is continuous (as defined in the Water Act 1989).
A process where a water corporation under section 51 and 67 of the Water Act 1989 decides whether the land on which someone proposes to construct or alter a dam is on a waterway, and assesses the catchment yield of the land.
Refers here to a machine or construction designed to extract water, usually a pump, or a bore, or a dam.
A licence that authorises the construction, alteration, operation, removal or decommissioning of any works on a waterway, or a bore, or a dam belonging to a prescribed class of dams.