Lake Eildon is the only inland waterway in Victoria where houseboats are permitted to operate.
It is Goulburn-Murray Water's (GMW) role to control and manage houseboat operations, including water quality and other issues associated with over 700 houseboats. GMW must also ensure that allocated water is available for irrigators and other downstream users.
The GMW By-law No. 1-2013 – Recreational Areas governs GMW’s development and management of public access and recreational use of its managed land and waterways.
The Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 (the Regulations) came into effect in June 2013.
Why have houseboat regulations?
To ensure the long term sustainability of houseboat operations on Lake Eildon it is essential to have regulations which control and manage houseboat operations in the Lake Eildon Recreational Area.
Who is affected by the regulations?
- All licenced houseboats;
- All new houseboats; and
- Existing houseboats that require a transfer of licence.
Technical investigation into alternative greywater systems for Lake Eildon houseboats
In October 2017, the Victorian Government announced its decision to repeal the requirement in the Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 for mandatory installation of greywater treatment systems on Lake Eildon houseboats. This requirement was removed on the advice of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in response to an independent review of the regulations conducted by Jacobs in 2016-2017.
The review highlighted significant concerns among the Lake Eildon houseboat community relating to the practical and financial implications of the regulations, the timeline for implementation and aspects of existing greywater treatment systems. The review highlighted the importance of making it easier for houseboat owners to help to protect water quality and public health at the lake.
DELWP is committed to improving the health of Lake Eildon and will continue to work with Goulburn Murray Water, houseboat owners and manufacturers to develop improved future houseboat greywater management requirements. DELWP have engaged Jacobs to further investigate issues identified in the original review, and explore opportunities for alternative greywater management on Lake Eildon houseboats, including the feasibility of allowing simpler, cheaper, alternative greywater systems.
Following this, DELWP will commission a separate technical investigation into options for realigning greywater system approval processes with a well-established, reputable and recognised national accreditation process. It is intended that new regulations with improved greywater management requirements will be introduced in the future, following the commissioning of these investigations.
You can find out more about the technical investigation in this fact sheet.
Houseboat greywater system review - Jacobs final report
Following the introduction of the Regulations, houseboat owners raised concerns and lobbied the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to seek exemptions. As a result, DELWP engaged Jacobs to investigate the issues and commission a response which amongst other things, provided options for reform.
You can download a copy of the final report here for your information.
In response to the Jacobs’ report, the Victorian Government has announced that it has repealed the requirement to install greywater treatment systems on all houseboats.
From 18 October 2017:
- Houseboats are not required to have a greywater treatment system installed by 1 July 2020.
- The pre-sale requirement no longer applies: houseboats don’t need to have a greywater treatment system installed before a license for the houseboat can be transferred to a new owner.
Further information regarding this decision can be found at the DELWP website.
If you would like more information about the proposed reforms to the regulations, please contact DELWP at email@example.com
Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013
Lake Eildon Houseboat Information Booklet
Application to Licence, Operate or Leave a Houseboat within the Lake Eildon Recreational Area
Houseboat Licence Terms and Conditions
Application for Transfer of Houseboat Licence
Compulsory Houseboat Inspection Report
Restricted Term Licence for Lake Eildon
Application to upgrade or alter existing houseboat
Credit Card Payment form (Under My Bills Menu)
Change of Address form (Under My Details Menu)
Houseboat Licence Fees
Annual Licence Fees 2017/18
||A trailable boat able to be transported without the need for a Vic Roads permit (upgradeable) - Maximum size 10m x 3.5m
||One enclosed level, non trailable (not upgradeable) - Maximum size 10.6m x 4.5m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 10.6m x 4.5m
Houseboat with one enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 13.7m x 5.5m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 13.7m x 5.5m
One enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 15.2m x 6.25m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 15.2m x 6.25m
One enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 18.3m x 7.25m
||Two enclosed levels (not upgradeable) - Maximum size 18.3m x 7.25m
| Category 7
||Special - commercial vessel - Maximum size 20m x 8m
Houseboat dimensions are inclusive of all structural components which includes walkways, duckboards, ski platforms, handrails, bumpers/buffers, eaves & motors. Any part of the vessel that protrudes outside of the maximum allowable category dimension must fold or retract within the allowable category dimensions.
Application, Inspection and Transfer Fees in Respect of Houseboats
||Application fee for initial houseboat licence
||Inspection fee for both single and multi-deck houseboats at Eildon
Inspection fee for both single and multi-deck houseboats at other locations
||Fee for transfer of houseboat licence to another person under regulation 12
Application fee for restricted term licence
General houseboat information
New Houseboat Licence Labels
Recent changes to the houseboat regulations have repealed the requirement for GMW to issue houseboat licence labels. Please be advised that you will no longer receive a label upon receipt of payment for your annual houseboat licence.
Houseboat Compulsory Inspection Program
GMW's houseboat inspection program was introduced to ensure compliance with the Regulations and to ensure that over a period of time, effluent issues that have the potential to threaten water quality and human health are minimised or removed. The program has now been in operation for ten years and has seen the majority of boats on Lake Eildon inspected. The outcomes of the inspections have ranged from some boats getting the ‘all clear' to others being removed and replaced by a new vessel.
GMW is reviewing the management of waste services across all its 16 water storages. There have been some concerns with the management of the bulk rubbish associated with houseboats at Eildon. The service provided by GMW is for the removal of domestic household, or in this case, domestic houseboat rubbish. It is clearly evident that bins are being used to dispose of "hard" rubbish in the form of renovation materials, carpets, television sets, lounge suites, mattresses etc.
The cost for the service and the number of bin clearances have increased dramatically over the last 2 to 3 years and the problem has evolved without an increase in the number of houseboats on the lake.
GMW asks that operators and owners take responsibility for their waste and ensure that only domestic rubbish is placed in the bins provided. Please ensure that cardboard boxes are crushed to ensure maximum space for rubbish within the bins.
Houseboat owners should consult with their club or marina operator for all hard rubbish removal and containment requirements. GMW will monitor the bins over the current boating season and will make recommendation on changes to the present process should current practices continue.
Camping and Fires
Fires and camping are not permitted in any area around Lake Eildon, except in the designated camping areas. Unregulated campfires are not only a potential hazard for bushfires, but also pose a risk to water quality along with discarded rubbish from camping activities. To minimize these impacts, Parks Victoria provides defined areas where camping and fires are permitted. Visit Parks Victoria or phone 131 963 for further information
On days of declared Total Fire Ban, please refer to the CFA's Can I or Can't I? brochure.
Motorbikes and Off Road Driving
Off Road driving and trail bike riding is only permitted on formed roadways that are above the lake full supply level and open to the public. All vehicles must be roadworthy, registered and you must be fully licensed. Off road driving and trail bike riding is not permitted on the exposed areas of the shores or the lake bed or in the National Park.
Protection of Foreshore Vegetation
With lake levels now returning to areas where considerable natural vegetation re-growth has occurred, houseboat operators may experience some difficulty in accessing popular mooring areas around the lake. Boat owners are reminded that native vegetation is protected and must not be removed.
Boating and Events on Lake Eildon
GMW works with Transport Safety and the Victorian Water Police to ensure that boaters on all storages enjoy safe boating. Please ensure that you refer to boating information signage at boat ramps before entering the waterway.
There has been a significant rise in applications for events across the storages as our water level rise to full or near full. GMW the Victorian Water Police and Transport Safety are designing a process to stream line and ensure maximum safety measures are in place for all approved events.
It is a requirement that application and approval process must be managed by GMW prior to any organised event taking place.
GMW wishes to remind owners of their responsibilities when bringing dogs onto GMW recreational areas. There has been past reports of dogs attacking wildlife and also being a nuisance to other boat owners. When a dog is within a GMW recreational area they must be:
- Under proper control on a leash; and
- Effectively restrained from causing injury or annoyance to people, damage or interference to property and disturbance or injury to wildlife;
Dogs of a dangerous or restricted breed are prohibited from entering or remaining within a recreational area.
Parks Victoria have also asked us to remind all visitors that dogs are prohibited within all of Lake Eildon National Park with the exception of the Parks Victoria camping area at Jerusalem Creek.