River pump licencing

You need a licence to take water from the river for any purpose.

A river pump licence (works licence) is a licence to construct, operate, alter, decommission or remove a pump which takes water from the river. These licences are subject to conditions set by the Water Minister and specified on the licence which is valid for five years.  River pump (works) licences are inspected and renewed on expiry if they meet the appropriate conditions. 

The conditions of a works licence include: 

  •  the type and  size of pump that is authorised to be used 
  • the conditions on which the pumps can be operated 
  • the volumes of water authorised to be taken during ordinary and rationing periods (extraction share). 

An extraction share is a licence holders share of the total amount of water that can be taken from rivers at a certain point over a given period of time.  Extraction shares are used to restrict the amount of water taken from the river in times of high demand. 

To be issued a river pump licence (works license), you also need to have an available Water Allocation and the authority to apply water to your land (surface water licencing). 

Place of Take approvals 

Victoria is adopting a new approach to water delivery entitlements in declared river systems, including the Murray. 

The ‘Place of Take Approvals’ framework is a new approach to water delivery entitlements and is planned to come into effect on 20 November 2023, once consultation is complete.  

The new framework will: 

  • clarify and protect existing water users’ rights to take water during the rare event that river rationing is required; and 
  • provide flexibility for water users to manage their own delivery risks. 

The new approach does not affect anyone’s water shares, it simply clarifies the right (entitlement) to have water delivered. 

The changes will: 

  • Give water users more certainty about their rights to have water delivered down our rivers and enable more flexibility to manage their own delivery risks. 
  • Enable the Water Minister to make rules to cap and allow for the trade of these delivery rights. 
  • Protect the rights of existing entitlement holders in water systems where delivery risks are increasing. 
  • Give water users confidence there are strong penalties to protect them from impacts of others taking more than their fair share during any river rationing. 

For more information, contact our Rural Customer Team on 1800 808 830 (option 3)  or see the Victorian Water Register.