Rural compliance

All rural customers have an Allocation Account (ABA) which records allocations  made to their water share throughout the year.  It keeps track of any water the customer holds that is available to use or trade.


Under the Water Act 1989 (the Act), customers must maintain a positive ABA balance. It is an offence for a customer to use water that is not in their ABA and penalties apply for the unauthorised take of water.


Lower Murray Water (LMW) is responsible for investigating non-compliance with the Act and to take action to address any unauthorised use of water. This may include lockdown and prosecution.


LMW has developed the Compliance and Enforcement Strategy 2019 which sets out the rules and procedures for LMW when conducting compliance and enforcement activities among rural customers.


The strategy aims to empower rural customers to make decisions on water take with the support of LMW and its policies.


View or download the strategy below.

Preventing unauthorised take of water

Unauthorised take typically occurs when a rural customer draws beyond the amount they have in their account – even if they have the intention of squaring it up later.


In December 2019 the Victorian Minister for Water the Hon Lisa Neville announced a renewed focus on compliance across Victoria to achieve a zero tolerance of unauthorised take. Read more on this announcement here.


LMW, under the direction of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), commenced a strategic review of its systems and processes to establish a best practice approach to investigate non-compliance and proactively manage the unauthorised take of water.


LMW has developed a comprehensive framework to improve the functionality and capability of its approach to prevent the unauthorised take.


Implementation of this framework will ensure an immediate response to unauthorised take through improved processes and technology, to assist customers to manage their balances and water use before unauthorised take occurs. This framework is governed by the Compliance and Enforcement Strategy 2019.

Reporting breaches of compliance

LMW is committed to delivering a fair and reliable service to its customers.


If you wish to report known or suspected breaches of compliance, contact the LMW Compliance Team by phone (03) 5051 3400 or via email at contactus@lmw.vic.gov.au with the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number/email address
  • Location
  • Allegation


Reports can also be received anonymously.

Managing your ABA

Rural customers can check their ABA balance and other information about their water usage via the LMW water ordering website. An Outlet Number and PIN are required to login.


The Northern Victoria Resource Manager makes seasonal determinations (allocations) on the first and fifteenth of each month. Seasonal determinations and the outlook for next season are available on the Northern Victoria Resource Manager website.


More information on how to manage your ABA can be found here.