The Water Savings Protocol (the Protocol) allows water savings to be calculated in a consistent and transparent manner and meets the requirement that all water savings are independently audited.

Independent auditors carry out audits of water recovery for irrigation modernisation projects each year. The audits follow an established process, detailed in the Protocol, to ensure water saving estimates have been completed in accordance with the Protocol.

Development of the Protocol

The Protocol was first released in 2009 and consisted primarily of a technical manual on how to estimate water savings. It was developed to provide a consistent and transparent way to estimate water savings from irrigation modernisation projects across Victoria and provides a guide to the Minister for Water’s expectations for water corporations and project proponents around demonstration of water savings. It also sets out the associated responsibilities of those involved in water savings projects.

It was released by the Minister for Water and developed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in collaboration with:

  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • GMW Connections Project
  • Southern Rural Water
  • Lower Murray Water
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
  • Irrigators
  • Irrigation infrastructure experts
  • Other key stakeholders

The initial version of the Technical Manual was accredited through an independent review by internationally-recognised water expert Dr Don Blackmore, who was the chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission for 15 years.

The guidelines in the Protocol are comparable to the methods originally used by the Murray‑Darling Basin Commission to audit States' compliance with the Murray-Darling Basin Cap.

Updates to the Protocol

Advancements in the field of water savings and irrigation modernisation requires the manual to be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect improvements in technology, and developments in the understanding of irrigation system losses.

Version five of the Protocol incorporates a range of updates to ensure the Protocol continues to reflect current best available information and knowledge. It has been developed in collaboration with technical experts and representatives from the water corporations operating irrigation districts in Victoria. The updates are detailed in Appendix 1 of the Protocol.

The changes in this update of the Protocol aim to:

  • improve the clarity and consistency of terminology, readability and presentation.
  • reduce confusion by combining the four original Protocol documents (explanatory note, roles and responsibilities, audit process and technical manual) into one combined document.
  • reflect improvements in technology and developments in technical understanding of irrigation system losses.

Download the Water Savings Protocol Version 5 (PDF, 2.4 MB)

Page last updated: 16/09/19