What is an environmental entitlement?

An environmental entitlement is a legal right to take and use water granted under the Water Act 1989 for the purpose of maintaining an Environmental Water Reserve  or improving the environmental values and health of the water ecosystems and other users that depend on environmental condition).

Who can hold an environmental entitlement?

Environmental entitlements can be held by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (section 48B of the Water Act 1989).

In addition to environmental entitlements, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder may hold other rights to water such as bulk entitlements and water shares.

What rights and responsibilities are granted under an environmental entitlement?

In accordance with the section 48I of the Water Act 1989, environmental entitlements may specify a range of conditions and obligations.

  • Rules about when, where and how much water can be taken;
  • Rules about the right to a share of storage capacity and share of inflows;
  • Obligations to contribute to the payment of operation and maintenance costs; and
  • Obligations to metre, maintain accounts and report.

Where can I access environmental entitlement information?

Environmental entitlements are recorded in the Victorian Water Register. You can access copies of the environmental entitlement orders on the Victorian Water Register website

How are environmental entitlements created?

The Minister for Water can allocate environmental entitlements under the section 48B of the Water Act 1989. In allocating an environmental entitlement, the Minister for Water must follow the administrative procedures set out in the Water Act 1989.

Environmental entitlements were included in the Water Act 1989 via the Water (Resource Management) Act 2005. The Water (Resource Management) Act 2005 amended the Water Act 1989 to create the legal foundation for water to be set aside to maintain environmental values of rivers and streams. It is intended that environmental provisions embedded in existing bulk entitlements will be converted into environmental entitlements. Environmental entitlements form part of the Environmental Water Reserve.

What is the Environmental Water Reserve?

The objective of the Environmental Water Reserve is to preserve the environmental values and health of water ecosystems, including their biodiversity, ecological functioning and quality of water and other uses that depend on environmental condition.

Environmental entitlements that form part of the Environmental Water Reserve enable active management of water to meet specific environmental needs such as fish spawning triggers or maintaining critical habitat during drought.

Can environmental entitlements be traded?

Environmental entitlements may be transferred, in whole in part, under section 480A of the Water Act 1989 provided the Victorian Environmental Water Holder has applied for and obtained approval from the Minister for Water.

Water allocation made available under environmental entitlements may also be assigned to another person, under section 48L of the Water Act 1989 in accordance with the trading rules, provided the trade will benefit the objectives of the Environmental Water Reserve.

Can environmental entitlements be amended?

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder can request the Minister to amend an environmental entitlement under section 48K of the Water Act 1989.

When the Minister for Water receives a request to amend an environmental entitlement, the administrative procedure set out in the Water Act 1989 must be followed. Key steps include:

  • Requests are advertised in local newspapers and on this website;
  • The process may involve consultation with stakeholders and local communities and submissions to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. The purpose of the consultation is to identify the potential impacts of the proposal;
  • The Minister for Water may call for submissions when a request is received, and will consider any submissions before making a decision; and
  • Amendments are granted through an order from the Minister for Water or the Governor in Council and published in the Victoria Government Gazette

Requests pending approval

Currently no requests pending approval.

Recently requested amendments

Currently there are no recently approved applications.