Broken System – Temporary Qualification of Rights 2019/20

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) has been providing regular correspondence to regulated Broken system customers since June 2019 about the resource position in the Broken system and ability to supply water to its customers during the 2019/20 water year.

GMW have confirmed there is sufficient resource available to operate the system and deliver carried over allocation this season. However a water shortage has been identified for being able to supply water for critical domestic and stock requirements for all users.

To provide entitlement holders with access to water for critical domestic and stock supplies, the Minister for Water has now declared a water shortage for the Broken System and temporarily qualified rights in accordance with section 33AAA of the Water Act 1989.

The temporary qualification of rights will take effect from 1 January 2020 and will cease if the seasonal determination against high-reliability water shares reaches 50 per cent or at 30 June 2020. During this time, customers can access water for critical domestic and stock uses.

A copy of the legislative instrument is available under GMW’s Broken system bulk entitlement on the Victorian Water Register.

The temporary qualification of rights enables customers to access water for critical domestic and stock requirements where there is insufficient allocation available to do so. Specific information about the temporary qualification is available below.

To ensure efficient use of available resources, GMW reminds all customers of the need to order water through WaterLINE prior to use.

Customers are reminded that allocation can be accessed in the Broken system via the water market.

Please contact Andrew Shields, Manager River Operations Planning, on 1800 013 357 or andrew.shields@gmwater.com.au if you would like to discuss the temporary qualification of rights. Please contact your local Diversion Inspector Ben Ives on 5822 7958 to discuss any ordering or access queries.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is a temporary qualification of rights? 

A temporary qualification of rights is a temporary change to a legal entitlement to water. The Minister for Water has emergency powers under the Water Act 1989 to declare that a water shortage exists and temporarily qualify rights to water.

2. What is the Temporary Qualification of Rights in the Broken System 2019?

The Minister for Water has temporarily qualified rights for high-reliability water share holders in the regulated Broken River system to access water for critical domestic and stock requirements.

This means landholders who hold Broken system high-reliability water shares and do not have sufficient water in their allocation account to meet their critical domestic and stock needs can access additional water under the qualification of rights.

3. What specific purposes can water under the qualification be used for?

The temporary qualification provides that where the seasonal determination for high-reliability water shares in the Broken System is less than fifty per cent, the right of a person to take water under a water share issued in respect of that system is qualified to –

a. take the volume necessary only:

(i) for the following domestic and stock uses -

  1. in-house household purposes;
  2. watering of animals kept as pets;
  3. watering of cattle and other stock; and
  4. firefighting; and

(ii) for the following commercial and industrial uses -

  1. watering of animals in intensive animal industries;
  2. washdown;
  3. cleaning;
  4. cooling;
  5. dust suppression for health-related reasons; and
  6. manufacturing and processing, provided best practice water savings measures have been implemented;

or;

b. take the volume of water recorded in a person's Allocation Account;


whichever volume is the greater.

4. How will this temporary qualification work?

All water use will be accounted for through normal metering or deeming against the allocation available in entitlement holder's allocation account.

If entitlement holders allocation does not meet their critical needs as specified in the temporary qualification of rights, then additional water use to meet those critical needs in 2019/20 is permitted under the qualification.

If entitlement holders plan to irrigate or trade allocation, they should plan to retain enough allocation to meet essential needs throughout the season. Under no circumstances can water use under the qualification exceed the volume of your high-reliability water share.

5. Does this affect entitlement holders ability to access water in their allocation account?

No. The qualification has no impact on any allocated volume or carryover.

6. What does this mean for trade? Can entitlement holders still buy and sell allocation on the market?

While there are no restrictions on allocation trade, entitlement holders cannot trade allocation out of their accounts during the temporary qualification of rights and have their critical domestic and stock requirements with the qualification of rights.

In determining the application of the qualification of rights, Goulburn-Murray Water will assess allocation trade activity. If allocation has been traded out and there is insufficient allocation to meet the critical needs, water users will be required to trade water into their account immediately to cover the over-use.

7. Can entitlement holders water their garden?

Temporary qualifications for critical domestic and stock needs cannot be used for watering gardens.

8. Can I use groundwater?

Yes. The qualification has no impact on groundwater access under section 8 rights or licensed groundwater use.

9. When does the temporary qualification of rights cease?

The temporary qualification of rights will cease if the seasonal determination against high-reliability water shares reaches 50 per cent or at 30 June 2020.