Water Use Compliance

What compliance and enforcement means

Compliance and enforcement are two separate concepts that work together to maintain the integrity of water markets and sustain public confidence in water management: 

  • Compliance is a proactive regulatory activity: actions are taken to prevent breaches or offences from occurring in the first instance. There are a variety of compliance tools to support compliance with Victorian water laws including education, hydrographic monitoring programs, metering inspections, audits, reporting and accounting.
  • Enforcement is a reactive regulatory activity: activity is triggered when breaches of the law are detected. Enforcement actions under the Victorian Water Act include warning notices, direction notices, orders for reinstatement where appropriate, suspension or cancellation of an authorisation, or prosecution.

Importance of water use compliance and enforcement  

Water is a precious and limited resource. It is critical to our economy, environment and communities. This is why water needs to be managed fairly for all water users. Water theft undermines the health of our environment, which threatens communities and our economy.

Effective and strong compliance helps to maintain fair access to water. It supports community confidence in the water entitlement framework and water market because the same rules apply to everyone. It also deters people from illegally taking and using water.

In Victoria, compliance and enforcement in the non-urban water sector is carried out by the Minister for Water and water corporations like GMW.

GMW policy

GMW's Water Compliance Strategy is risk-based to make sure that resources are used efficiently, focussing more on areas where there are the greatest compliance risks.

GMW has a range of available compliance and enforcement tools. Use of these tools will be responsive and appropriate to the level of non-compliance and the risk associated with the non-compliance. GMW is committed to: 

  • a clear and logical escalation pathway in response to detected breaches, from warnings through to when prosecutions will be pursued
  • an emphasis on engagement, education and awareness raising
  • work in good faith with all parties and use our enforcement powers only when needed

GMW will be transparent about its water use compliance strategies, protocols and compliance and enforcement activities.

Letting us know about misconduct

Please let GMW know about any non-compliance by contacting us on 1800 013 357.