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What is a bulk entitlement?

A bulk entitlement is a legal right to take and use water granted under the Water Act 1989.

Who can hold a bulk entitlement?

Bulk entitlements can be held by water corporations, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and other specified bodies defined in section 34 of the Act.

What rights and responsibilities are granted under a bulk entitlement?

In accordance with the section 43 of the Act, bulk entitlements may specify a range of conditions and obligations on its holder, including:

  • rules about when, where and how much water can be taken
  • rules about how the water can be used
  • rules about the right to a share of storage capacity and share of inflows
  • obligations to release flows for environmental uses
  • obligations to supply primary entitlement holders
  • obligations to contribute to the payment of operation and maintenance costs and
  • obligations to meter, maintain accounts and report.

Where can I access bulk entitlement information?

Bulk entitlement orders are available on the Victorian Water Register.

How are bulk entitlements created?

The Minister for Water can issue bulk entitlements under the Act in 2 ways:

  1. Conversion of a pre-existing right to water into a bulk entitlement (section 47) or granting a new bulk entitlement (section 43).
  2. A potential bulk entitlement holder must apply to the Minister for Water for the conversion or granting of a bulk entitlement. The Minister Water must consider any applications in accordance with the procedures specified in the Act.

Can bulk entitlements be amended?

Yes, under section 44 of the Act bulk entitlement holders can apply to the Minister for Water to amend an existing bulk entitlement.

Can bulk entitlements be traded?

Bulk entitlements may be transferred under section 46D of the Act provided the holder has applied for and obtained approval from the Minister for Water.

Water allocation made available under bulk entitlements may also be assigned to another person under Section 46A of the Act in accordance with trading rules.

Applications to issue or amend a bulk entitlement

When the Minister for Water receives an application for a new bulk entitlement or to amend an existing bulk entitlement, the requirements set out in the Act are followed, including:

  • applications are advertised on the Victorian Public Notices website and on this website
  • depending on the nature of the proposal, the application process may involve consultation with stakeholders and local communities and submissions to the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action or the applicant
  • the purpose of this consultation is to identify the potential impacts of the proposal, including any adverse impacts on existing water users and the environment
  • the Minister for Water will consider any submissions received before making a determination on the application and
  • new bulk entitlements or amendments are granted through an order from the Minister for Water or the Governor in Council and published in the Victorian Government Gazette.

Recently approved applications

Sunraysia Water Efficiency - Project Amendment 2024

The Minister for Water has approved Lower Murray Water’s application under section 44 of the Water Act 1989 to amend its River Murray irrigation bulk entitlement.

The amendments were required to recognise water savings achieved through modernisation works under the Lower Murray Water Sunraysia Water Efficiency Project and to enable water shares to be issued to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

This is required to meet Victoria’s obligations under the Funding Deed with the Australian Government for the Lower Murray Water Sunraysia Water Efficiency Project

The amendment came into effect on 11 April 2024. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Goulburn-Murray Water - Water Efficiency Project Amendment 2024

The Minister for Water has approved Goulburn Murray Water’s application under sections 44 and 45 of the Water Act 1989 for amendments to its River Murray bulk entitlement and Eildon-Goulburn Weir bulk entitlement.

The amendments were required to recognise water savings achieved through modernisation works under the Goulburn Murray Water - Water Efficiency Project and enable water shares to be issued to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

The amendments also removed clauses from both bulk entitlements that are no longer required following the completion of the Connections Project.

The amendments came into effect on 11 April 2024. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Amendment of the Goulburn System bulk entitlements held by Greater Western Water, South East Water, and Yarra Valley Water

The Minister for Water has approved under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 minor amendments of: Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – Greater Western Water) Order 2022, Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – South East Water) Order 2022, and Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – Yarra Valley Water) Order 2022.

The amendments were required to formalise appropriate obligations on Melbourne Water as the Storage Manager for the Melbourne Headworks System in relation to its role in operating the North-South Pipeline, and to clarify Melbourne Water’s role in preparing and administering relevant metering programs. The amendment also adds a clause to allow Melbourne Water to request data to support its own reporting requirements, and makes some minor wording changes to improve the clarity of the bulk entitlement orders.

The amendment notices were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 14 March 2024. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Applications pending approval

No applications are pending approval.

Page last updated: 11/04/24