Licences are issued to protect the rights of licence holders, ensure that water is shared among users, and to ensure that environmental requirements are protected.

For more information on "take and use licenses" visit the Victorian Water Register website

A PCV is a cap set by the Minister for Water and is the maximum volume of water that can be allocated in a groundwater management unit.

Declaring a limit on licences provides certainty as to the limits of groundwater able to be extracted, while also protecting water for the environment.

Where a PCV is reached, those who want to get access to groundwater, or to increase their current licenced volume, must trade a volume of water from another licence holder in the area.

Statutory management plans and local management plans are developed to manage risks to groundwater resources.

Management plans aim to ensure the resource is shared equally between users, that impacts on third parties are minimised and the environment and long-term sustainability of the resource is protected.

Statutory management plans are a requirement for Water Supply Protection Areas under the Water Act 1989. The plans are developed with the community, groundwater users and other stakeholders and define specific rules to meet the management objectives in the area.

Local management plans are prepared in accordance with the following guidelines approved by the Minister:

Local Management Plan Guidelines (PDF, 397.2 KB)
Local Management Plan Guidelines (DOCX, 838.7 KB)

Monitoring of groundwater levels provides information on the condition of the resource, and enables the resource manager to track groundwater level responses to rainfall and extractions.

The water levels in approximately 1800 observation bores across the state are regularly monitored. Some of these sites are now monitored with telemetry systems, which provides live monitoring data of groundwater levels.

For groundwater data visit the Water Measurement Information System website

The metering of licensed groundwater extraction supports responsible groundwater management and continually improves our understanding of the resource. Groundwater extraction volumes are published in the annual Victorian Water Accounts.

In 2012, Victoria developed a new framework for the management and reporting of groundwater resources. The framework comprises three levels for managing and reporting on groundwater:

  • Groundwater Management Basins;
  • Groundwater Catchments; and
  • Groundwater Management Units.

Groundwater Management Basins and Groundwater Catchments are used for planning and reporting on groundwater conditions. These areas represent regions of connected groundwater resources and are based on groundwater flow systems, as well as administration and surface water management boundaries.

The 20 Groundwater Catchments and the Groundwater Management Basins to which they are aligned are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Groundwater management basins and groundwater catchments

Caption: Figure 1 - Groundwater management basins and groundwater catchments

Groundwater Management Units (GMU) define areas where specific rules are used to manage the resource according to the needs of groundwater users and the environment. There are two types of Groundwater Management Units: Water Supply Protection Areas, and Groundwater Management Areas.

Water Supply Protection Areas

A Water Supply Protection Area is an area declared under the Water Act 1989 to protect the groundwater or surface water resources through the development of a statutory management plan.

Groundwater Management Areas

A Groundwater Management Area (GMA) is an area where groundwater has been intensively developed or has the potential to be. GMAs have boundaries defined for the purposes of setting a PCV for ongoing management.

For more information on specific Groundwater Management Units, see Water Corporations.