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 the Water Act 1989 (section 34).

What rights and responsibilities are granted under a bulk entitlement?

In accordance with the section 43 of the Water Act 1989, 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 entitlements are recorded in the Victorian Water Register. You can access copies of the bulk entitlement orders on the Victorian Water Register website

How are bulk entitlements created?

The Minister for Water can issue bulk entitlements under the Water Act 1989 in two ways:

  • Conversion of a pre-existing right to water into a bulk entitlement (section 47); or
  • Granting a new bulk entitlement (section 43).

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 Water Act 1989.

Can bulk entitlements be amended?

Yes, under section 44 of the Water Act 1989 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 Water Act 1989 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 Water Act 1989 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 Water Act 1989 is followed, including:

  • Applications are advertised in local newspapers 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 Environment, Land, Water and Planning 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 Victoria Government Gazette

Applications pending approval

Establishment of Upper Barwon Environmental Entitlement

The Minister for Water has received an application to amend Barwon Water’s existing bulk entitlement and a request from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder to establish a new environmental entitlement in the Upper Barwon system, in line with the Water Act 1989.

More information

Recently approved applications

Amendments to Melbourne Retailers’ desalinated water bulk entitlements

The Minister for Water has approved applications under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 to amend South East Water, City West Water and Yarra Valley Water’s desalinated water bulk entitlements. The amendments were made to recognise South Gippsland Water and Westernport Water’s delivery points along the transfer pipeline between the Desalination Plant and Cardinia Reservoir in these bulk entitlements.  This will facilitate South Gippsland Water and Westernport Water’s continued access to their water allocation from the Greater Yarra System – Thomson River Pool when the desalination plant is producing water. There are also some minor wording changes to improve clarity.

The Minor Amendment Notices were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 11 January 2018. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Goulburn-Murray Water's Broken System Entitlement Amendment 

The Minister for Water has approved an application under section 36 of the Water Act 1989 to amend Goulburn-Murray Water’s Broken system bulk entitlement.

The changes were required to allow Goulburn-Murray Water to agree temporary reductions or increases in environmental flow requirements in the Broken system with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority under specified circumstances, for example, reduce flows during extreme dry conditions to optimise available water for both users and the environment, or make slight changes in the timing of releases to increase a high-flow event.