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The Water Savings Protocol provides assurance that water recovered from irrigation modernisation is verified. And that associated water entitlements issued for the water recovery will not adversely impact the environment and on the reliability of existing water entitlements.

The Water Savings Protocol (the Protocol) allows water recovery achieved by modernising public irrigation systems to be calculated consistently and transparently and meets the requirement for the water recovery is independently audited and verified.

The audits follow an established process, detailed in the Protocol, to ensure water recovery estimates have been completed in accordance with the Protocol.

Development of the Protocol

The Protocol was released in 2009 to provide a consistent and transparent way to estimate the water recovery achieved by irrigation modernisation projects across Victoria. The Protocol also sets out the respective responsibilities of those involved in water recovery projects.

The Protocol was released by the Minister for Water and developed by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action in collaboration with stakeholders including:

  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • GMW Connections Project
  • Southern Rural Water
  • Lower Murray Water
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
  • irrigators
  • irrigation infrastructure experts.

The guidelines in the Protocol are comparable to the methods originally used by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission to audit States' compliance with the Murray-Darling Basin Cap and were accredited through an internal review.

Updates to the Protocol

Advancements in the field of estimating water recovery achieved by irrigation modernisation require the Protocol to be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect improvements in technology and developments in the understanding of irrigation system losses.

Version 5 of the Protocol incorporates a range of updates to ensure the Protocol continues to reflect the current best available information and knowledge. It has been developed in collaboration with technical experts and representatives from the water corporations operating irrigation districts in Victoria. The updates are detailed in Appendix 1 of the Protocol.

The changes aim to:

  • improve the clarity and consistency of terminology, readability and presentation
  • reduce confusion by combining the 4 original Protocol documents (explanatory note, roles and responsibilities, audit process and technical manual) into one combined document
  • reflect improvements in technology and developments in technical understanding of irrigation system losses.

Read the water saving protocol

Read about projects delivered under the Water Savings Protocol

Page last updated: 10/10/23