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

Currently no requests pending approval.

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.

Thomson System Entitlement Amendments

The Minister for Water has approved applications under section 36 of the Water Act 1989 to amend bulk entitlements in the Melbourne water supply system.  The amendments:

  • add a 3.9 per cent share of inflows into the Thomson Reservoir to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder's (VEWH) current entitlement in the Thomson System;
  • increase VEWH's share of storage capacity in the Thomson Reservoir from 10,000 ML to 18,000 ML;
  • decrease Melbourne Water's share of storage capacity in the Thomson Reservoir from 1,068,100 ML to 1,060,100 ML;
  • decrease City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water's entitlement share of the Greater Yarra System-Thomson River Pool by 2430 ML, 3281 ML and 3495 ML respectively;
  • amend schedule 2 of the regional urban water corporations entitlements in the Greater Yarra System-Thomson River Pool (Barwon Water, South Gippsland Water, Western Water and Westernport Water) which lists the volumes of water held against each entitlement.

These changes were required to grant a new environmental entitlement to VEWH for the Thomson River. In addition the applications made a number of administrative changes to make the wording of the entitlements clearer and more consistent.;.

Thomson-Macalister Reporting Amendment

The Minister for Water has approved an application under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 to amend Southern Rural Water’s bulk entitlement in the Thomson-Macalister system. The amendments reduce the frequency of reporting against the Thomson-Macalister diversion limit required in Bulk Entitlement (Thomson Macalister – Southern Rural Water) Conversion Order 2001 from annually to once every five years. There are also some minor wording corrections.

The change to five yearly bulk entitlement diversion limit reporting will not compromise environmental values or irrigator’s entitlement rights but will lessen the financial and administrative burden on Southern Rural Water.