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 Energy, Environment and Climate Action 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
Amend Goulburn-Murray Water’s Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Goulburn-Murray Water) Conversion Order 1999 and Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn Weir) Conversion Order 1995.
The Minister for Water has received an application from Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) to amend GMW’s Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Goulburn-Murray Water) Conversion Order 1999 and Bulk Entitlement (Eildon – Goulburn Weir) Conversion Order 1995 under section 44 of the Water Act 1989.
The amendments to GMW’s bulk entitlements seek to reduce distribution losses to support the issue of new mitigation water environmental entitlements, and revoke obligations to set aside temporary water savings from the GMW Connections Project for the Melbourne retail water corporations who were issued enduring entitlements in 2022.
Recently approved requests
Amendment of Goulburn Murray Water’s River Murray and Eildon-Goulburn Weir bulk entitlements
The Minister for Water has approved Goulburn Murray Water’s application under section 44 of the Water Act 1989 for amendments to its River Murray bulk entitlement and Eildon-Goulburn Weir bulk entitlement.
The amendments were required to recognise water savings achieved through modernisation works under the Goulburn Murray Water - Water Efficiency Project and enable water shares to be issued to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
The amendment Order was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 16 March 2023. View or download from Victorian Water Register.
Page last updated: 01/05/23