Groundwater Trading

Forms Local groundwater trading rules Frequently asked questions Using Groundwater

Local groundwater trading rules

Trading of take and use groundwater is managed by GMW in accordance with the Ministerial Policies for Managing Take and Use Licences. Before the approval of a permanent or temporary entitlement transfer, GMW regards a number of matters including any adverse impacts on other water users.

The local trading rules by Plan are listed and available to download as follows:

Management Plan Name Plan reference to trading rules
Broken GMA Local Management Plan (2.79 MB) Section 4.4., pg 18 & 19
Central Victorian Mineral Springs GMA Management Plan (4.04 MB) Rule 2, pg 21
Eildon GMA Local Management Plan (2.65 MB) Section 4.4, pg 19 & 20
Katunga WSPA Groundwater Management Plan (932 Kb) Section 7.3, pg 11 & 12
Kiewa GMA Local Management Plan (832 Kb) Rule 3, pg 19
Loddon Highlands WSPA Groundwater Management Plan (5.52MB) Section 3.4, pg 17
Lower Campaspe Valley WSPA Groundwater Management Plan (2.71MB) Section 3.3, pg 16
Lower Ovens GMA Local Management Plan (904 Kb) Section 3.3, pg 11
Mid Goulburn GMA Local Management Plan (924 Kb) Rule 3, pg 20
Mid Loddon GMA Local Management Rules (683 Kb) Section 2.5, pg 12
Strathbogie GMA Local Management Plan (1.59 MB) Rule 3, pg 18 &19
Upper Goulburn GMA Local Management Plan (2.23 MB) Rule 3, pg 19
Upper Murray GMA Local Management Plan (2.43 MB) Rule 3, pg 19
Upper Ovens River WSPA Water Management Plan (2.12MB) Section 14, pg 44
West Goulburn GMA Local Management Plan (6.68 MB) Section 4.4, pg 22 & 23



Watermatch is an online forum where people can advertise if they want to trade water licence entitlement. Watermatch is an independent service and GMW is not a water broker and cannot provide advice on the price of water. Download our fact sheet for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I trade groundwater?

Trading groundwater provides existing licensed groundwater users the opportunity to maximise the value of their licence, either to sell an unused licence, or to buy additional entitlement in areas where no new licence entitlement is being issued.

What types of trade can occur?

Licensed entitlement can be traded on a temporary basis across G-MW or on a permanent basis in some areas. Please refer to the management plans to find out what types of trade are applicable to your licence.

How do I trade groundwater?

Groundwater trading takes place between a buyer and a seller or can be completed by a local water broker. Details of brokers in your area can be located in the Yellow Pages or through advertisements in your local newspaper.

G-MW cannot provide you with information on the current market value of water.

The transfer of licence entitlement must be lodged to G-MW click here for application forms.

What rules apply to temporary or permanent trades?

There are specific rules about trading in each Groundwater Management Unit. Trading rules have been established to ensure groundwater resources are managed in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Information on trading rules can be found in the applicable management plan for your licence.

If you are still unsure about the rules you should contact the Licensing Administration Unit to discuss your trading options on 1800 0137 537.

How do I know which management zone and trading rules apply to my licence?

Your licence lists the trading zone applicable to your licence. A copy of your licence can be obtained by contacting the Licensing Unit (fees apply) on 1800 0137 537.

If you intend to apply for a licence transfer you are urged to contact G-MW prior to making an application to ensure you have a full understanding of the conditions which apply to the transfer

What are some general rules of groundwater trade?

The following general rules apply to the transfer of a groundwater licence:

  1. Transfer of entitlement may be assessed to consider potential impacts to surrounding users and the environment;
  2. Transferred entitlement is available for use from the date of approval until the end of the water year (30th June);
  3. If the sellers bore is equipped with a pump, it must be metered in order to trade part or the whole entitlement;
  4. The buyer must have an existing groundwater licence and metered bore before purchasing water entitlement;  

What volume of water is available to the buyer when a trade is approved?

When restrictions are in place in a particular management area and the seasonal allocation is less than 100% the volume transferred to the buyer will be subject the seasonal allocation at the time of the transfer. 

For example if a buyer requires 100 ML when an 80% allocation is in place they will need to purchase 125 ML (125 ML * 80% seasonal allocation = 100 ML). If the seasonal allocation increases to 100%, then the buyer will receive the additional 25 ML.

When can the buyer take and use transferred water?

The buyer can take and use water upon written confirmation from G-MW that the transfer has been approved.

Can groundwater and surface water licences trade to one another?

Groundwater and surface water licences can only be traded to one another in the Upper Ovens WSPA.  Click here for the Upper Ovens WSP management plan for further details.

In all other areas trading between groundwater and surface water licences is currently not possible.

For further licensing information please contact: Goulburn-Murray Water, Licensing Administration Unit, PO Box 165, TATURA VIC 3616 or call 1800 013 357