The Minister for Water has received an application from Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) to amend its Murray and Goulburn bulk entitlements and a request from the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) to make amendments to its environmental entitlements for the Goulburn and Murray systems, in line with the Water Act 1989.

The proposed amendments will enable the environment’s one-third share of water recovery (up to 75 GL long-term average annual yield (LTAAY) water recovery) achieved under the GMW Connections Project Stage 1 to be allocated as permanent entitlement.

Application overview

GMW have applied for amendments to the following:

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

The VEWH have applied for or requested amendments to the following:

  • 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

Goulburn-Murray Water Application Letter (PDF, 689.6 KB)

Goulburn-Murray Water Application Letter Accessible Version (DOCX, 361.9 KB)

VEWH Application Letter (PDF, 436.3 KB)

VEWH Application Letter Accessible Version (DOCX, 64.7 KB)

More information about the applications for amendments

The GMW Connections Project is a key part of Victoria’s contribution to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The majority of water recovery is being provided to environmental water holders who protect and improve Victoria’s waterway health to support fish, vegetation and water quality.

When the GMW Connections project is complete – and channels and meters are upgraded or rationalised to prevent wasting water through leakage, seepage and evaporation – it’s estimated a long-term average annual water recovery of 429 GL will be achieved through a more efficient irrigation system.  

This $2 billion-dollar project is being funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.

The GMW Connections Project is comprised of two stages, including Stage 1 and Stage 2 that are contracted to deliver 225 GL LTAAY and 204 GL LTAAY of water recovery respectively, to make the expected water recovery total of 429 GL LTAAY.

The water recovery being issued to the environment as part of this amendment package is associated with Stage 1 of the GMW Connections Project (225 GL LTAAY). Stage 1 water recovery is to be shared, with up to 75 GL LTAAY provided to the environment, Melbourne water retailers and irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID).

This amendment package enables the environment to receive its share of water recovery as a permanent entitlement.

Stage 2 of the GMW Connections Project has a water recovery target of 204 GL LTAAY, with the water recovery being provided to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) in the form of water shares. This has been undertaken through a separate bulk entitlement amendment process.

The total 279 GL of LTAAY of water recovery provided to environmental water holders as a result of the GMW Connections Project, contributes to Victoria’s water recovery target of 1,075.3 GL LTAAY under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. For further information on the GMW Connections project, please refer to the Connections Project website.

The applications seek the required amendments to enable the environment’s share of the water recovery achieved under the GMW Connections Project (Stage 1), to be issued as permanent entitlement. This requires the following amendments to occur:

The VEWH’s Goulburn River environmental entitlement and the Murray Flora and Fauna bulk entitlement

The VEWH’s Goulburn River environmental entitlement and its Murray Flora and Fauna bulk entitlement are being amended to include permanent water recovery arising from the GMW Connections Project Stage 1. This entitlement will be identified as the ‘Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project entitlement’ and will enable take from the Goulburn River system and River Murray under similar conditions as outlined for existing entitlements.

In addition, a clause is being added to require the VEWH, in consultation with DELWP to participate in a review of these entitlements established under these amendments, upon completion of the final water recovery audit of the GMW Connections Project.

The VEWH’s Goulburn System and River Murray NVIRP Stage 1 Environmental Entitlements

These entitlements are being amended to remove the temporary annual allocation of one third of the total phase 3 water savings achieved under the GMW Connections Project Stage 1. This is required as the environment will be issued permanent entitlement under the Goulburn River Environmental Entitlement and the Murray Flora and Fauna Bulk Entitlement.

Goulburn and Murray bulk entitlements

These entitlements are being amended to adjust GMW’s loss allowances to enable the transfer of water recovery from the GMW Connections Project Stage 1 to Goulburn and Murray entitlements held by the VEWH.

Next steps

The Minister for Water will consider the applications from GMW and the VEWH, taking into account the requirements of the Water Act 1989. Subject to the Minister for Water’s approval, the bulk and environmental entitlements will come into effect when they are published in the Victoria Government Gazette or by the specified date.

More information and submissions

For more information on the applications call 136 186 or email water.be@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 20/06/19