Rural compliance

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


Under the Water Act 1989 (the Act), customers must maintain a positive ABA. 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 take of water and is continuing to focus on water compliance and penalise those who breach the Water Act 1989 (Act). In addition to managing the unauthorised take and use of water and ensuring customers maintain a positive balance of their Allocation Account (ABA), LMW will also issue Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) to customers that take water without the appropriate authorisation or who breach their licence conditions.  This will come into effect from 1 November 2022.


Please see the Water Use Compliance Fact Sheet for more information.


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, and ensures they are risk-based, transparent and appropriate. Where necessary, these may include issuing Penalty Infringement Notices, lockdown or prosecution.


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.


If you have any enquiries, please contact the Ordering Compliance team on (03) 5051 3406.

Preventing unauthorised take of water

In September 2020, Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville announced she had accepted recommendations from an independent review into water theft compliance measures, providing a boost to water market transparency by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to water theft. You can read more about the Minister’s announcement on our website 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 to ensure a level playing field for all customers.


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


Implementation of this framework will ensure a risk-based approach 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 contactus@lmw.vic.gov.au. Reports can be received anonymously.

LMW Meter Action Plan

Non-urban water metering has a vital role in LMW’s management of limited water resources.


The LMW Meter Action Plan 2019 identifies LMW’s:


  • current meter fleet profile;
  • current processes to validate, maintain and replace meters;
  • steps to achieve compliance with the Victorian Non-Urban Water Metering Policy; and
  • improvement actions.


You can view a summary of the Meter Action Plan 2019 below.


For further information, please contact the LMW Metering Team on 03 5051 3400.

Managing your ABA

Rural customers can check their ABA and other information about their water use 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.