On-farm resources may include groundwater, bores and dams and there are regulations in place for accessing, managing and using these resources. Groundwater and bores are used to supply water for domestic and stock purposes and for irrigation of commercial crops.

Victoria has a network of emergency water supply points. These were built in response to the impact of severe dry seasonal conditions and surface water scarcity in many regions.

Groundwater is used by many landowners to supply water for domestic and stock purposes and for irrigation of commercial crops.

While groundwater sometimes interacts with surface water to supply dams and natural springs, in many cases farmers gain access to groundwater reserves via bores.

Under the Water Act 1989 a landowner may be entitled to access groundwater for domestic and stock purposes by virtue of land ownership although water for commercial purposes is available only under strict licensing arrangements. Rural water corporations are responsible for the issuing of licences. In all cases, bores must be constructed by a licensed driller.

The Victorian entitlement framework provides more detailed information about licensing requirements in relation to groundwater.

For more information visit Groundwater.

There are three main types of emergency water supply points:

  1. Emergency supply bores have operated since the 1960s. Most of these sites are managed by local councils;
  2. Some water corporations have standpipe connections to network water systems. Access to these sites is subject to water availability and must be arranged by contacting the relevant urban water corporation;
    • In the Melbourne metropolitan region, metered filling stations are managed by the Melbourne water corporations. These sites are primarily used by commercial water carters and access is generally controlled by a swipe card. Contact the relevant water corporation to arrange access to these sites;
  3. Water for domestic and stock purposes can be drawn from public access points at channels, streams or reservoirs. Rural water corporations manage the drawing of this water and need to advise on the location of these points and the availability of supply. If water is drawn by water cartage operators, it is considered a commercial use, and therefore requires licence approval.

Please contact your local council or urban water corporation for further information about Emergency Water Supply Points in your area.

Page last updated: 02/05/18