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

There are no applications pending approval.

Recently approved requests

Amendments to Bulk and Environmental Entitlements held by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder and Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) for the GMW Connections Project (Stage 1) Water Recovery

The Minister for Water has approved an application from GMW for amendments to its:

  • Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn Weir) Conversion Order 1995;
  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Goulburn-Murray Water) Conversion Order 1999.

Concurrently, the Minister for Water has also approved an application from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) for amendments to its:

  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray- Flora and Fauna) Conversion Order 1999
  • Goulburn River Environmental Entitlement 2010
  • Environmental Entitlement (Goulburn System – NVIRP Stage 1) 2012
  • Environmental Entitlement (River Murray – NVIRP Stage 1) 2012

Amendments to the bulk entitlements have been made in accordance with section 44 of the Water Act 1989 and in accordance with Section 48K of the Water Act 1989 for the environmental entitlements.

The water recovery issued to the environment as part of these amendments is associated with Stage 1 of the GMW Connections Project (225 GL long-term average annual yield (LTAAY) water recovery in total). Stage 1 water recovery is to be shared between the environment, Melbourne retail water corporations and irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

These amendments enable the environment’s one-third share of water recovery achieved under the GMW Connections Project Stage 1 to be allocated as permanent entitlement for the environment.

The VEWH’s Goulburn River and River Murray entitlements have also been amended to include a clause requiring the VEWH, in consultation DELWP, to participate in a review of the GMW Connections Project entitlements, upon completion of the final water recovery audit of the GMW Connections Project. This has been included to allow a review of all Stage 1 entitlements issued to beneficiaries to take place, to ensure an equitable distribution of entitlement.

The Amendment Orders/Instruments were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 28 June 2019 and can be viewed or download from the Victorian Victorian Water Registerr.

Amendments to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Murray Flora and Fauna bulk entitlement and Goulburn Murray Water’s Eildon-Goulburn Weir bulk entitlement – Greens Lake Water Savings Project

The Minister for Water has approved an application from Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) to amend the Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn Weir) Conversion Order 1995 and an application from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) to amend the Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Flora and Fauna) Conversion Order 1999, under section 44 of the Water Act 1989.

The amendment to GMW’s Eildon-Goulburn Weir bulk entitlement disconnects Greens Lake from the Goulburn headworks system so it can no longer be used for water supply. This means GMW can no longer store any Goulburn system inflows in Greens Lake, and use this water to supply entitlement holders in the Goulburn system.

The amendment to the VEWH’s River Murray - Flora and Fauna bulk entitlement adds a 9 GL unregulated entitlement for the water savings arising from the removal of Greens Lake from the Goulburn headworks system. The unregulated entitlement can be taken below the Goulburn River confluence, when the Murray-Darling Basin Authority announces that unregulated flow is available in the River Murray.

GMW is undertaking the Greens Lake Water Savings Project as part of the GMW Connections Project, and the bulk entitlement amendments were required to enact the changes arising from this project.

The amendment orders were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 28 June 2019. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Goulburn-Murray Water’s Eildon - Goulburn Weir Bulk Entitlement Amendment

The Minister for Water has approved Goulburn-Murray Water’s (GMW’s) application under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 for a minor amendment to the Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn Weir) Conversion Order 1995.

The changes were required to:

  • correct the restriction formula and the maximum annual supply volume for the East Loddon Waterworks District (WWD) to reflect the volume calculated in accordance with the three-yearly annual supply average as previously stipulated; and
  • formally distinguish between the now separately supplied East Loddon (North) WWD and East Loddon (South) WWD; and
  • correct the volumes reported in Schedule 2 to be supplied to primary entitlements held by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder to reflect the actual updated volumes of those entitlements.

The amendment notices were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 28 June 2019. View or download from Victorian Water Register.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Loddon River Bulk Entitlement

The Minister for Water has approved an application under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 to amend Bulk Entitlement (Loddon River – Environmental Reserve) Order 2005.

The amendment was required to fulfil Victoria’s commitment to implement pre-requisite policy measures (previously referred to as unimplemented policy measures) in accordance with section 7.15 of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.  The change provides the Victorian Environmental Water Holder with a right to re-use or obtain credit for water used under the entitlement and returned to the Loddon or other system in a manner consistent with other major regulated systems of northern Victoria and committed to in the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy.

The amendment includes other minor variations to improve clarity and reflect contemporary operations, particularly in relation to the requirement to agree on operating arrangements.

The Minor Amendment Notice was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 13 June 2019. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Campaspe River Environmental Entitlement

The Minister for Water has approved an application under section 45K(4)(b) of the Water Act 1989 to amend Environmental Entitlement (Campaspe River – Living Murray) 2007.

The amendment was required to fulfil Victoria’s commitment to implement pre-requisite policy measures (previously referred to as unimplemented policy measures) in accordance with section 7.15 of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.  The changes enable the Storage Manager, rather than the Minister for Water, to approve requests from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder for re-use or credit of water used under the entitlement and returned to the Campaspe or other system in a manner consistent with other major regulated systems of northern Victoria and committed to in the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy.

The amendment also includes other minor variations to improve clarity and reflect contemporary operations, particularly in relation to the requirement to agree on operating arrangements.

The Amendment Notice was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 13 June 2019. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder’s Goulburn System Environmental Entitlement

The Minister for Water has approved an application under section 45K(4)(b) of the Water Act 1989 to amend Environmental Entitlement (Goulburn System – Living Murray Initiative) 2007.

The amendment was required to fulfil Victoria’s commitment to implement pre-requisite policy measures (previously referred to as unimplemented policy measures) in accordance with section 7.15 of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.  The changes enable the Storage Manager, rather than the Minister for Water, to approve requests from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder for re-use or credit of water used under the entitlement and returned to the Goulburn or other system in a manner consistent with other major regulated systems of northern Victoria and committed to in the Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy.

The amendment also includes other minor variations to improve clarity and reflect contemporary operations, particularly in relation to the requirement to agree on operating arrangements.

The Amendment Notice was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 13 June 2019. View or download from the Victorian Water Register.

Goulburn-Murray Water Rural Water Corporation’s River Murray and Goulburn Bulk Entitlement Amendments

The Minister for Water has approved Goulburn-Murray Water’s (GMW’s) applications under section 45 of the Water Act 1989 to amend the Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn River) Conversion Order 1995 (Goulburn BE) and Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Goulburn-Murray Water) Conversion Order 1999 (River Murray BE), and its application under 47CA and 47CB to convert 194 ML of its high-reliability water shares to the Goulburn BE.

The changes were required to allow Goulburn-Murray Water to:

  • reduce its distribution loss allowances for its Goulburn and Murray irrigation districts enabling water shares to be issued to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder as required for Stage 2 of GMW Connections Project;
  • Reduce the maximum diversion rate for the Swan Hill offtake following the Swan Hill Modernisation Project;
  • make minor administrative amendments to correct errors in the bulk entitlements; and
  • convert 196 ML of water shares into bulk entitlement to supply the Cosgrove district via the Tungamah Waterworks District. This conversion of water shares to bulk entitlement will allow GMW to streamline accounting arrangements for managing the waterworks district supplies.

The amendment notices were published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 26 April 2019. View or download from Victorian Water Register.

Page last updated: 30/10/19