Domestic and stock

You can use rural water for household use and for watering livestock.

Victorians have basic rights to water under the Victorian Water Act 1989. These rights allow you to take water from a bore, dam, river or stream to use for domestic and stock purposes. This is often referred to as a ‘private right’ or ‘domestic and stock right’.

You can also apply for a water use registration to have a domestic and stock supply from within an irrigation district or as a private diversion customer.

Domestic and stock use

Domestic and stock water use refers to water used for:

  • household use – not including drinking, food preparation or bathing
  • watering livestock and pets
  • watering a ‘kitchen garden’ – a garden on your property used to grow produce for household use
  • fire prevention.

You cannot use domestic and stock water for:

  • piggeries, poultry, feedlots or dairies
  • any other intensive, commercial or licensed use – for example, irrigating land or crops, or operating a commercial enterprise.

Access to water under a private right is limited by other provisions of the Water Act. You must check you have a private right to water before taking and using water. To find out, contact us on 1800 808 830.

Domestic and stock water users have the same rules and responsibilities as irrigators under the Water Act – for more information, see Water use compliance and enforcement.

Domestic and stock water quality

River or bore water is not treated and is not suitable for human consumption. There may also be times when it’s not suitable for other purposes – for example, washing clothes, bathing or animal consumption.

You should be aware that domestic and stock water is subject to blue-green algae and blackwater events.

For more information, see Safe drinking water.

Accommodation and convenience facilities

As the owner of a property using a domestic and stock water supply, it is your responsibility to tell anyone else who may use this water about the quality.

You may be using a domestic and stock water supply for:

  • accommodation and/or public toilets used by employees, tenants or customers
  • residential schemes, syndicates or co-ops.

If so, you must let employees, tenants and/or customers know that the water supply is untreated and is not suitable for drinking, food preparation or bathing.

Licences and approvals

You may need a licence to take and use water for domestic use and stock purposes. For an assessment, contact our Rural Customer Team on 1800 808 830.

You can take river or creek water for domestic and stock use if:

  • your property has access to water delivery infrastructure – or a works licence – to extract water from the river, and you own the water entitlement and have allocation
  • your property title includes the river
  • your property title directly abuts the river
  • you lease Crown land abutting the river.

You can take bore water for domestic and stock use if the bore is located on your property. For more information see Groundwater bore licensing.

Domestic and stock tapping

Tapping means connecting an internal water service to Lower Murray Water’s water pipes and channels.

You need to apply for domestic and stock water supply tapping if you want to take water for domestic and stock use.

Tapping domestic and stock water supply involves installing an internal pipeline and an approved meter on all new connections.

There is a fee for installing domestic and stock tapping.

For information about cleaning your tapping filter, see Meter maintenance.

Domestic and stock water storage

We recommend that domestic and stock water users in irrigation and rural districts have adequate storage for 6 weeks normal use.

We recommend minimum storage capacity to cover periods when irrigation systems are not operation – for example, during the winter irrigation season.

Minimum recommended storage capacity is:

  • 45,000 litres for a sole supply for domestic and stock water
  • 4,500 litres for a dual supply for domestic and stock water plus urban supply.

Earthen storages – dams dug into the ground – are not permitted.

You can use local water carters to get water supplies for your needs if your tank supplies are low or affected by blue-green algae or another contaminant.

Buying or selling a property with domestic and stock water supply

When buying or selling a property, you must get details about water services on the property. This information is required to transfer ownership of any water rights that come with the property.

For more information, see Selling or transferring a property.