Water Compliance Project

Rural water and irrigation

Under the Water Act 1989, Goulburn-Murray Water is responsible for managing the taking of surface water from rivers, creeks and dams in the Murray, Goulburn, Loddon, Broken, Bullarook, Loddon, Campaspe, Kiewa and Ovens Rivers. This water is used for a variety of agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic purposes.

Taking and using water

Water users  can find out more about their water use rights and obligations from the Victorian Water Register or by contacting their local water corporation.)

Most water users are responsible and abide by the conditions of their water licence. However, each year a small number of users take water illegally. Some do this deliberately, some inadvertently.  This includes water sourced from a bore, dam, creek, stream, river or irrigation channel.

The Federal government has initiated the  Water Compliance Project to help rural water users understand their rights and obligations for taking and using water. This is a nation-wide initiative with projects in each state.

Water Compliance Project

The Water Compliance Project is Victoria's implementation of the National Framework for Compliance and Enforcement of water resource management systems. The Framework promotes common water laws and compliance mechanisms across Australia and is funded by the Australian Government through the Water for the Future initiative.

Key elements of the project include providing more information about water take and use obligations and providing support for extra monitoring activities.

There are six water corporations involved in this project. They can advise water users about their rights and responsibilities:

  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water*
  • Goulburn-Murray Water
  • Southern Rural Water
  • Lower Murray Water*
  • Melbourne Water
  • Coliban Water*   

*only applies to rural customers

Check your rights and obligations

If you take and use water from sources such as a dam, bore, stream, river, creek, or irrigation channel, you should:

  • check your water entitlement (licence) to make sure you understand your compliance obligations; or
  • contact your water corporation if you require further information regarding your entitlement or to work out if you need an entitlement for your water use.

Statistics of offences under the Water Act 1989

Each water corporation contributes to an annual report that collates non-compliance statistics and any penalties applied. This can be found at the DEWLP website.


The Water Compliance Project Fact Sheet  (649KB)