The Minister for Water has received applications from the Melbourne retail water corporations - South East Water (SEW), Yarra Valley Water (YVW) and Greater Western Water (GWW) - to amend existing bulk entitlements and to be granted new bulk entitlements in the Goulburn and Murray systems. The applications relate to the distribution of the Melbourne retail water corporations’ share of water recovered from Stage 1 of the Connections Project to reflect their $300 million investment.

Application overview:

SEW, YVW and GWW have applied to amend the following bulk entitlements and the grant of new bulk entitlements:

Goulburn System

The application is to amend the following bulk entitlements:

  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – City West Water) Order 2012
  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – South East Water) Order 2012
  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – Yarra Valley Water) Order 2012

The application is to grant the following new bulk entitlements:

  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – Greater Western Water) Order 2022
  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – South East Water) Order 2022
  • Bulk Entitlement (Goulburn System – Yarra Valley Water) Order 2022

Murray System

The application is to amend the following bulk entitlements:

  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – City West Water) Conversion Order 2012
  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – South East Water) Conversion Order 2012
  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Yarra Valley Water) Conversion Order 2012

The application is to grant the following new bulk entitlements:

  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Greater Western Water) Order 2022
  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – South East Water) Order 2022
  • Bulk Entitlement (River Murray – Yarra Valley Water) Order 2022

Frequently asked questions

A bulk entitlement is a legal right to water granted by the Minister for Water under Part 4, Division 1 of the Water Act 1989 (the Act).

Bulk entitlements are legal instruments mainly held by water corporations that set out how much water the holder is entitled to take to supply its customers and the conditions around taking that water.

The GMW Connections Project is Australia’s largest irrigation modernisation project and the most significant infrastructure upgrade in northern Victoria’s 100-year history.

The project has now delivered works to achieve the long-term 429 gigalitres (GL) of water recovery for farms in Northern Victoria and the environment. Since then, the Project has been finalising its work scope and has exceeded its water recovery target.

It is a key part of Victoria’s contribution to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan contributing 10 % (279 GL long term average annual yield (LTAAY) water savings) of the total water recovery required. The majority of environmental water recovery is being provided to protect and improve Victoria’s waterway health to support fish, vegetation and water quality.

Before the project started, irrigation infrastructure in the region lost around 900 GL each year from leakage, seepage, evaporation and poor measurement.

To successfully deliver this complex project, we give equal consideration to the environment, cultural heritage, community, irrigators and a range of individual infrastructure delivery solutions.

The Victorian and Australian governments are funding this $2 billion-dollar project.

The Melbourne retail water corporations – Greater Western Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water – will receive their ongoing entitlements to water from the Connections Project in July 2022.

The Melbourne retail water corporations have been receiving annual allocations from their share of water recovery from the Connections Project against provisional bulk entitlements since 2012. These will be replaced by ongoing bulk entitlements, which will receive seasonal determinations like other high and low-reliability entitlements.

Next Steps

The Minister of Water will consider the applications from South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and Greater Western Water, considering the requirements of the Water Act 1989. Subject to the Minister for Water approval, the bulk entitlement amendments will come into effect when they are published in the Victorian Government Gazette.

More information and submissions

Further information on the application can be obtained from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or at: www.water.vic.gov.au/planning-and-entitlements/bulk-entitlements

Page last updated: 21/04/22