Diverter Licencing Information

Do I need a licence?

You cannot take and use water from a waterway without a Surface Water Licence.

Under specific circumstances and where water is only to be used solely for Domestic and/or Stock purposes, water can be taken without a licence under what is known as a Private Right.

To establish whether this is available, you need to contact us and discuss a ‘ Private Right Determination' application. All other purposes require a Surface Water Licence.

Who issues Licences?

GMW issues licenses to take and use water under the provisions of Section 51 of the  Water Act 1989, and to operate the associated works under Section 67 of the  Water Act 1989.

How long is a Surface Water Licence valid for?

A Surface Water Licence can be issued for a maximum period of 15 years.

What does a Surface Water Licence allow me to do?

A Surface Water Licence allows you to take and use water for domestic and/or stock, irrigation, commercial or other purposes.

Your licence details how much water you can take and use for the nominated purpose each year.

Licenses also contain specific conditions which relate to maximum extraction rates, maximum authorised area, authorised purposes and other obligations you are required to adhere to ensure the licence remains valid.

What is a Winter Fill Licence?

A Surface Water Licence is termed a Winter Fill Licence if it contains conditions which limit the extraction of water during a specified period.

Winter Fill Licence entitles the holder to take water to fill a dam, tank or other storage, or apply directly to a crop over the period of 1 July to 31 October in any year. All flow occurring outside of this period must be passed.

How do I get a licenced volume?

In most cases water cannot be purchased through GMW and needs to be sourced from existing entitlement holders. The exception is in some unincorporated groundwater areas there is still a limited ability to purchase Capital Groundwater Entitlement.

You will need to speak to GMW about the availability of Capital groundwater entitlement in these areas.

In all other areas, entitlement must be traded from an existing entitlement holder via a permanent or temporary trade arrangement. Your local Diversions operational team can provide additional information on this process, or visit GMW’s Water Trading page. Additionally, you can visit the Water Register website (opens in a new window) to view existing trading rules.

Do I need to meter my surface water use?

You will need to contact your local Diversion Inspector to confirm the need to meter any new works associated with your licence. Metering is a Victorian Government policy to improve management of surface water resources.

We will provide you with the necessary information required to purchase and install a flow meter. The installation can be carried out by you or alternatively you can arrange for us to carry out the installation. Once a meter is installed it becomes the property of GMW.

Water Use Compliance

Water is a precious and limited resource. It is critical to our economy, environment and communities. This is why water needs to managed fairly for all water users. GMW takes a zero-tolerance approach to water theft to ensure equity of access to limited water resources and protects those who are doing the right thing.

It’s illegal to take and use more water than allowed under your entitlement. Whenever a little more water is taken than is allowed, it can easily add up and there is limited water to go around.

Water theft affects everyone in your community and it is important that individual water users do not adversely impact other users or Victoria’s environmental values. Individual water users should make sure they have the right authorisations before they take water from a dam, bore, stream, river, creek or irrigation channel.

A zero-tolerance to water theft provides equity of access to limited water resources and protects those who are doing the right thing. If you see something, say something. To report an alleged breach/offence, phone us on 1800 013 357. 

For more information on compliance and enforcement at GMW, please see our Water Use Compliance page.