Water allocation and entitlements

Manage your water allocation account (ABA) and entitlements for your property or business.

If you have a water entitlement (or water share), you have a right to a share of water in the dams used to supply your water system. The amount of water your receive is your water allocation. Your allocation will change from season to season depending on how much water is available.

We manage water shares and entitlements on behalf of the state government and our community. Water allocation holders have a responsibility to manage their water usage.

You can keep track of your allocation and usage, including trade and carryover, on the Victorian Water Register or through our water order portal.

How water is allocated

Each water share represents a volume – for example, 100 megalitres (ML). You are allocated a percentage of your water share depending on:

  • how much water is available in your water system
  • the outlook for the season.

This is called seasonal determination (also known as seasonal allocation).

For example, in a dry year, a seasonal determination of 50 per cent of a 100 ML water share gives you 50 ML of water allocation. A seasonal determination of 100 per cent means that your full water share volume is available.

Water shares can be classed as high-reliability or low-reliability, depending on how often seasonal determinations are expected to be 100 per cent. Allocations are made to high-reliability water shares before low-reliability shares.

The Northern Victoria Resource Manager makes seasonal determinations regularly throughout the irrigation season.

Managing your allocation

Allocations made during the irrigation season are credited to the allocation account (ABA) of each water share holder. Your ABA keeps track of the amount of water you have to use or trade in the current season.

For example, if you own 10 megalitres of water share with an allocation of 66 per cent, then you have 6.6 megalitres available in your ABA (less any water used).

Your ABA must always have a positive balance. It is an offence to use water that is not in your ABA. See Water compliance for more information.

Checking your ABA balance

Before using water, consider how much you need to have in your ABA to cover your water usage. You can check your ABA balance and water usage by logging in to My Water on the Victorian Water Register or on our website – see Order water to find out how.

Buying water

If you don’t own water shares but plan to use water, or if you need more water than you already have, you must buy water allocation and have it available in your ABA before you use it. You can also sell water you don’t need.

See Water trading for more information.

Unused water allocation

If you don’t use all your water allocation before the end of an irrigation season, you may be able to carry it forward into the next season’s allocation. This is called carryover.

Using your allocation on your property

If you own water shares – or your property has a water entitlement attached to it – you have a right to a share of available water. However, you will need a licence before you can use that water on your land.

See Licensing for more information.

Transferring entitlements

You can apply to transfer the ownership of a water share (a water entitlement).

Transferring a water share does not transfer any of the water in your allocation account (ABA). The buyer only receives the next allocation announced to the water share once the transfer is final.

There are different ways to transfer a water share, including:

  • limited term transfer – you lease your water share to someone else for a set time
  • permanent transfer – you sell all or part of a water share
  • delivery share transfer – you permanently transfer of all or part of your delivery share rate
  • annual use limit (AUL) transfer – you transfer the volume of water that can be used in a 12-month period for land specified in a water-use licence or water-use registration.

See Transfer water entitlements for more information.