Melbourne
Water access

Water rights, entitlements, allocations and restrictions

Introduction

This note provides information about the water access rights granted by jurisdictions to the users of the region's water resources and the associated allocation announcements, diversions and forfeitures – adjustments. Information about restrictions to water access rights is also included in this note.

Information about restrictions to urban consumers is not included in this note, but rather in the Urban system, System's interactions with the region note and in the Contextual information, under Water rights, Operating rules and constraints.

The information in this note enables users to understand the nature and volumes of water rights, water allocations, water abstractions and water restrictions that relate to water assets and water liabilities of the Melbourne region in the 2010–11 year.

The 2011 Account acknowledges the varying jurisdictional legislative water resource management frameworks related to Australian rights to water that support water resource management in Australia. The jurisdictional legislative water resource management frameworks vary greatly between jurisdictions, sometimes making comparisons difficult. To facilitate meaningful comparison between the water accounting reports included in the 2011 Account, the Bureau of Meteorology has developed and applied an accounting concept to classify and report water rights within a water-asset/water-liability framework.

In the 2011 Account, the broad categories of water access entitlements relate to the capacity of an entitlement to create or not a water liability on the region's water resource and not to any jurisdictional classification.

Surface water rights are categorised broadly into:

Groundwater rights are categorised broadly into:

In the National Water Account, Other statutory water rights are defined as water rights conferred by water legislation (a water act or water sharing plan), for which there is no individual entitlement.

Surface water rights

Table 1 summarises, for the surface water resource, the annual volumes of the water right (entitlement on issue or estimation of the other statutory water rights), the allocations announced, the actual abstractions and use of allocation, and the forfeiture and adjustments of allocations, during the 2010–11 year.


Table 1. Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions and adjustment and forfeiture for the Melbourne region during the 2010–11 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2011)

Water allocation (2010–11)

Water abstraction/use (2010–11)

Forfeiture, adjustment (2010–11)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

32.1 Other statutory surface water rights

n/a

n/a

17.6

n/a

n/a

32.2 Surface water access entitlement for direct diversion

69,071

n/a

n/a

17.7

16,883

n/a

n/a

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocation diversion

603,760

21.2

353,431

17.12

353,431

13.2

0

4,825

21.4

235

17.14

235

13.4

0

22,780

21.1

19,521

17.11

6,512

13.1

0

Total

700,436

 

373,187

 

390,070

 

0

  – = no data available; n/a  = not applicable

Note: water allocations (line item 21.2), allocation abstraction/use (line item 17.12) and forfeiture, adjustment of allocation (line item 13.2) shown in Table 1 do not appear in the water accounting statements because they are transactions that occurred within the region.

More information about the items presented in Table 1 is provided in the linked line item notes.

Groundwater rights

For groundwater, the total water allocation announcement is assumed to equal 100% of the annual entitlement.

Tables 2 summarises, for the groundwater resource, the annual volumes of the water right (entitlement on issue or estimation of the other statutory water rights), the allocations announced, the actual abstractions and use of allocation, and the forfeiture and adjustments of allocations, during the 2010–11 year.

Table 2. Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions and adjustment and forfeiture for the Melbourne region during the 2010–11 year

Water rights (at 30 June 2011)

Water allocation (2010–11)

Water abstraction/use (2010–11)

Forfeiture, adjustment (2010–11)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

Reporting line item

Volume (ML)

33.1 Other statutory groundwater rights

n/a

n/a

18.7

n/a

n/a

33.2 Groundwater access entitlement for direct extraction

n/a

n/a

18.8

n/a

n/a

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction

40,822

22.1

40,822

18.11

10,196

14.1

30,626

Total

40,822

 

40,822

 

10,196

 

30,626

– = no data available; n/a  = not applicable

More information about the items presented in Table 2 is provided in the linked line item notes.

Water restictions

Diversion bans

During 2010–11, bans applied to diversions from 26 unregulated streams as well as to irrigation and regulated diversions from some streams (see tables 3 and 4).


Table 3. Restrictions on diversions from waterways managed by Melbourne Water
Waterway 2010 2011
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Arundel Creek




IB





Darebin Creek











Diamond Creek





IB IB



Don Creek











Gardiners Creek











Hoddles Creek IB
IB








Little Yarra River











Maribyrnong River IB*


IB* IB* IB* IB* IB* IB* IB* IB*
Moonee Ponds Creek




IB





Mullum Mullum Creek











Pauls Creek IB
IB

IB IB IB IB IB IB IB
Plenty River











Steels/Dixon Creek




IB IB IB IB IB IB IB
Wandin Yallock Creek











Woori Yallock Creek











Yarra River (upper)





R




Yarra River (lower)





R





R = restriction = pumping times or days restricted, in accordance with drought response plan
IB = irrigation ban
IB* = irrigation ban (winter fill)
Note: the restrictions expressed in the above table relate to the restrictions in place on the final day of the month under consideration (and do not necessarily reflect the restrictions in place over the entire month).

Table 4. Restrictions on irrigation diversions on waterways managed by Southern Rural Water
Waterway 2010 2011
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Baringo Creek IB IB IB








Bolinda Creek IB IB









Deep Creek IB IB









Jacksons Creek IB IB IB
R






Kororoit Creek IB IB IB








Lerderderg River IB IB IB








Monbulk Creek











Riddels Creek IB IB









Witch Creek IB IB IB








R = restriction = pumping times/days restricted, in accordance with drought response plan
IB = irrigation ban

For more information on the irrigation restrictions, please refer to the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment Monthly Water Reports.

Water market activity

Water market activity

This region note presents the volumes of water trades that occurred in the Melbourne region during the 2010–11 year. A description of water market rules is provided in the Contextual information under Trades and water rights transfers.

The following information on water trades is reported in this note:

  • approved trade of surface water entitlements allocations
  • impact of water trading on water assets and water liabilities.
  • approved lease of surface water entitlements
  • approved trade of surface water.

Groundwater trading is not presented as information was not available for the region for the 2010–11 year.


Surface water trade

Table 5 presents a summary of surface water trade within regulated systems in the Melbourne region during the 2010–11 year. Wet conditions and high allocations reduced demand for trading across the region. Trade of surface water entitlements was very low (434 ML), as was surface water allocation trade (634 ML). There was no trade of entitlements or allocations into or out of the region.


Table 5. Surface water trade

Line item

Volume (ML)

Surface water entitlement trade

35.1 Trade of surface water entitlement within region

434

35.2 Trade of surface water entitlement into region

0

35.3 Trade of surface water entitlement out of region

0

Surface water entitlement lease

36.1 Lease of surface water entitlement within region

36.2 Lease of surface water entitlement into region

0

36.3 Lease of surface water entitlement out of region

0

Surface water allocation and tagged trade

37.1 Surface water allocation trade within region

634

37.2 Surface water allocation trade into region

0

37.3 Surface water allocation out of region

0

– = no data available

More information on water trading is available on the Victorian Water Register website.

Impact of trade on the region's water assets and water liabilities

Water market activities had no impact on water assets and water liabilities in the Melbourne region during the 2010–11 year, since all trade was within the region.

Water use

Environmental benefit

Introduction

Information on legislative, administrative and governing arrangements of environmental water in the region is available in the Environmental water management section of the Contextual information.

In the Melbourne region, water for environmental benefit is provided by the Environmental Water Reserve. The Environmental Water Reserve comprises water that is set aside for the environment via:

  • statutory environmental water entitlements – reported as Held environmental water management case
  • the operation of passing flows released as a condition of consumptive bulk entitlements – reported as Planned partly regulated surface water management case
  • the operation of licence conditions on consumptive bulk entitlements which have minimum passing flow requirements – reported as Planned unregulated surface water management case
  • through the operation of conditions on any licence issued under a Stream Flow Management Plan which identifies environmental flow targets – reported as Planned unregulated surface water management case

The objective of the Environmental Water Reserve is to provide water to preserve and improve the environmental values and health of water ecosystems, including their biodiversity, ecological functioning and quality of water and other uses that depend on environmental condition.

For each type of environmental water management scenario, the information, if available, is structured as follows:

  • Environmental water determinations – the environmental objectives. They are represented by Environmental Water Provisions (EWP) defining specific water levels and flow criteria at key representative sites and given times that the water regime provided must meet.
  • Environmental water commitments – the instruments in place to achieve the environmental water determination, e.g. environmental water storage release rules, water access rules to limit abstractions, rules on diversion to wetlands and annual environmental watering plans.
  • Environmental water outcomes – the water regime that were provided and the extent of the compliance with respect to the criteria set in the Environmental Water Provisions (EWP) and the environmental water commitments.
Environmental entitlements: held environmental water

Environmental water determination

Victorian environmental water entitlements prescribe that an environmental flow regime must be adopted that describes the characteristics of recommended environmental flows for river reaches within the basin including their volume, timing, duration and rate of change.

The recommended minimum environmental flows for the Tarago and Bunyip catchments are described in Schedule 1 of the Tarago and Bunyip Rivers Environmental Entitlement 2009.

The recommended minimum environmental flows for the Yarra catchment are described in Schedule 1 of the Consolidated Yarra Environmental Entitlement 2006.

Environmental water commitment

Environmental entitlements are rights to water issued by the Minister for Water under section 48B of the Water Act 1989(Vic). As of July 2011, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder is responsible for coordinating the delivery of environmental water entitlements with catchment management authorities and Melbourne Water.

Currently, two environmental entitlements apply to the catchments within the Melbourne region. The Victorian Environmental water holder is entitled to

Environmental water outcome

Environmental entitlements require reporting to the Environment Minister on; the annual volume of water released for the environment, the extent to which environmental flows have met the recommended environmental flow regime, and non-compliance with conditions of the entitlement

This information is reported in an annual publication entitled Environmental Watering in Victoria, which is available on the Department of Sustainability and Environments website. However, this report was not complete at the time of preparation of the 2011 Account.

Bulk Entitlements: planned partly regulated surface water

Environmental water determination and commitments

Bulk entitlements that are categorised as planned partly regulated surface water are those where there is the provision to make operational releases from storages to provide minimum passing flows.

In the Melbourne region this includes bulk entitlements to water in the Bunyip/Tarago and Maribyrnong catchments (see Table 6 and 7).

Bulk entitlements outline the rules that must be followed when taking or abstracting water, including minimum passing flows that must be maintained at certain compliance points. In these entitlements, water may be released from storage to maintain minimum flows. These minimum passing flow targets are summarised by catchment in tables 6 and 7.

Maribyrnong catchment

In the case of the bulk entitlement to water in Rosslynne Reservoir, the obligation to provide storage releases to maintain minimum passing flows is on Southern Rural Water. However, all entitlement holders must not extract water if the minimum passing flow conditions are not met. The environmental determination and commitments for the Maribyrnong catchment are summarised in Table 6.

Table 6. Environmental determinations for Maribymong catchment specified in bulk entitlements – planned partly regulated surface water

Description

Responsible authority

Compliance point

Compliance conditions

Consolidated Bulk entitlement (Maribyrnong – Melbourne Water) Conversion Order 2000

Western Water

Jacksons Creek – Gisborne gauging station

A minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day & during any period described in clause 11.4, a minimum instantaneous flow of 20 ML/day

Jacksons Creek – Sunbury gauging station

A minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day

Consolidated Bulk entitlement (Maribyrnong – Western Water) Conversion Order 2000

Melbourne Water

Jacksons Creek – Gisborne gauging station

A minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day & during any period described in clause 11.4, a minimum instantaneous flow of 20 ML/day

Jacksons Creek – Sunbury gauging station

A minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day

Consolidated Bulk entitlement (Maribyrnong – Southern Rural Water) Conversion Order 2000

Southern Rural Water

Jacksons Creek – Gisborne gauging station

Subject to passing flows of the lesser of 3 ML/day and the natural flow, a minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day & during any period described in clause 11.4, a minimum instantaneous flow of 20 ML/day

Jacksons Creek – Sunbury gauging station

Subject to passing flows of the lesser of 10 ML/day and the natural flow and a minimum instantaneous flow of 1 ML/day

Jacksons Creek – Keilor gauging station

Subject to passing flows of the lesser of 5 ML/day and the natural flow


Tarago/Bunyip catchment

The following bulk entitlements to water in the Tarago/Bunyip catchment are held:

  • Bulk Entitlement (Tarago And Bunyip Rivers – Melbourne Water for City West Water Limited) Conversion Order 2009
  • Bulk Entitlement (Tarago And Bunyip Rivers – Melbourne Water for South East Water Limited) Conversion Order 2009
  • Bulk Entitlement (Tarago And Bunyip Rivers – Melbourne Water for Yarra Valley Water Limited) Conversion Order 2009.

The responsibility to request the storage operator to release sufficient passing flows is on Melbourne Water. Passing flows must comply with the following guidelines as detailed in clause 10:

  • the average flow on any day is to be no less than 80% of the passing flow
  • the total flow over any continuous seven day period is to be not less than the sum of the passing flows for each day over the same period
  • over any continuous 12 month period, the passing flow is to be provided 90% of the time.

The minimum passing flows for the Bunyip/Tarago bulk entitlements are summarised in the Table 7.

Table 7. Environmental determinations for the Targo/Bunyip catchment – planned partly regulated surface water

Compliance point

Passing flow (all flows are minimum instantaneous values)

Neerim South gauging station

The lesser of 5 ML/day and the flow entering the reservoir

Tarago River at Tarago weir

Between May to October:

  • 20 ML/day if the inflow to the Tarago weir is equal to or greater than 40 ML/day; OR
  • 50% of inflow if the inflow to Tarago weir is less than 40 ML/day

Between November to April:

  • 10 ML/day if the inflow to the Tarago weir is equal to or greater than 20 ML/day; OR
  • 50% of inflow if the inflow to Tarago weir is less than 20 ML/day

Bunyip River at Bunyip weir

Between May to October:

  • 8 ML/day if the inflow to the Bunyip weir is equal to or greater than 16 ML/day; OR
  • 50% of inflow if the inflow to Bunyip weir is less than 16 ML/day

Between November to April:

  • all inflow to Bunyip weir above 6 ML/day if inflow to Bunyip weir is equal to or greater than 12 ML/day; OR
  • 50% of inflow if the inflow to Bunyip weir is less than 12 ML/day


Environmental water outcomes

In accordance with clauses entitled reporting requirements, the bulk entitlement holder or responsible authority must submit to the Minister for Water a report detailing their compliance with the conditions of the entitlement (in particular the passing flows) during the year. Information regarding compliance with bulk entitlement conditions was not available at the time the 2011 Account was published.

Bulk entitlements: planned unregulated surface water

Environmental water determination and commitments

Bulk entitlements that are categorised as planned unregulated surface water are those where abstraction is only permitted when minimum passing flow conditions are met. In the Melbourne region this includes bulk entitlements to water in the Werribee, Yarra and Maribyrnong Catchments.

Bulk entitlements outline the rules that must be followed when abstracting water, including minimum passing flows that must be maintained at certain compliance points. For these entitlements water may not be abstracted, or abstracted at a reduced rate where minimum passing flows are not maintained. These minimum passing flow targets are summarised by catchment in tables 8 to 10.

Maribyrnong catchment

Table 8. Environmental commitments and determinations for Maribymong catchment specified in bulk entitlements – planned unregulated surface water

Description

Responsible authority

Compliance point

Compliance conditions

Bulk entitlement (Gisborne - Barringo Creek) Conversion Order 2004

Western Water

Baringo Creek at Gisborne diversion weir

Water can not be abstracted when passing flows range from 0 to 0.4 ML/day

Water can only be abstracted between June and October when passing flows range from 0.4 to 6.4 ML/day at a rate of 0.67*(Flow–0.4) ML/day

Water can only be abstracted between June and October when passing flows are > 6.4 ML/day at a rate of 4 ML/day

Bulk entitlement (Lancefield) Conversion Order 2001

Western Water

Monument Creek – Lancefield diversion weir

Minimum passing flow of 0.6 ML/day

Bulk Entitlement (Macedon and Mount Macedon) Conversion Order 2004

Western Water

Bawden Road Spring

Water can only be abstracted between May and November subject to storage capacity >60% and instantaneous flows at Riddells Creek gauging station are 10 ML/day in May & >30 ML/day in November

Railway Creek

Turritable Creek

Willimigongon Creek

Railway Creek – immediately upstream of Kitty English Reservoir tail water

Minimum passing flow of 0.2 ML/day

Willimigongon Creek – Anzac Road gauging station

Minimum passing flow of 0.7 ML/day

Bulk entitlement (Riddells Creek) Conversion Order 2001

Western Water

No information available

 

Bulk entitlement (Romsey) Conversion Order 2001

Western Water

Bolinda Creek weir

Water can be abstracted at a rate of 0.5*Flow ML/day when passing flows range from 0 to 4.4 ML/day

Water can be abstracted at a rate of Flow–3 ML/day when passing flows range from 4.4 to 11.1 ML/day

Water can be abstracted at a rate of Flow–3.3 ML/day when passing flows range from 11 to 16.4 ML/day

Water can be abstracted at a rate of Flow–3.6 ML/ day when passing flows range from 16.4 to 22.7 ML/day

Water can be abstracted at a rate of Flow–3.8 ML/day when passing flows range from >22.7 ML/day

Water can be abstracted at a rate of 32 ML/day when passing flows range from >35.8 ML/day


Werribee catchment

Table 9. Environmental commitments and determinations for Werribee catchment specified in bulk entitlements–planned unregulated surface water

Description

Responsible authority

Compliance point

Compliance conditions

Bulk Entitlement (Werribee System Irrigation) Conversion Order 1997

Southern Rural Water

Werribee River below Upper Werribee diversion weir

Minimum passing flow of the lesser of 5 ML/day and the natural flow

Werribee River below Bacchus Marsh diversion weir

Minimum passing flow of the lesser of 12 ML/day and the natural flow

Werribee River below Melton Reservoir

Minimum passing flow during the period May to August of:

  •  the lesser of 15 ML/day and the natural flow if the Melton Reservoir is above the target specified in schedule 6
  • the lesser of 15 ML/day averaged over a seven day period and the natural flow averaged over the same period if the Melton Reservoir is at or below the target specified in schedule 6

Lerderderg River below Lerderderg diversion weir

Minimum passing flow of 30 ML/day during December – June

Minimum passing flow of 50 ML/day during July to November

During August to October either:

  • 80 ML/day if flow downstream of the Lerderderg River and Goodman Creek confluence is less than 80 ML/day
  • 50 ML/day when flow downstream of the Lerderderg River and Goodman Creek confluence is equal to or greater than 80 ML/day

Lerderderg River below the confluence with Goodman Creek

Minimum passing flow of 38 ML/day during December to June

Minimum passing flow of 60 ML/day during July to November

minimum passing flow of 100 ML/day during August to October

Goodman Creek below Goodman Creek diversion weir

minimum passing flow of the lesser of 2.5 ML/day and the natural flow

Coimadai Creek downstream of Lake Merrimu

Minimum passing flow of the lesser of 2 ML/day and the natural flow

Werribee River below Werribee River diversion weir

Minimum passing flow of 10 ML/day if the declared seasonal allocation for the Werribee Irrigation District exceeds 130% of the water right

Minimum passing flow of 1 ML/day (averaged over a seven day period) if the declared seasonal allocation for the Werribee Irrigation District is equal to or less than 130% of the water right

Bulk Entitlement (Werribee System - Western Water) Conversion Order 2004

Western Water

Downstream of Djerriwarrh Reservoir

Minimum passing flow at an instantaneous rate of the lesser of 1.5 ML/day and the natural flow


Yarra catchment

Environmental flow requirements for the bulk entitlements to water from the Yarra River are detailed in the State Environment Protection Policy and the Yarra environmental entitlement as summarised in Table 10.

Table 10. Environmental commitments and determinations for Yarra catchment specified in bulk entitlements – planned unregulated surface water

Location

Environmental flows

Yarra River – Yering pumps gauging station

As detailed in State Environment Protection Policy – Waters of Victoria Schedule F7: Passing flows of 245 ML/day

Multiple points throughout Yarra catchment

As detailed in clause 16 and schedule 1 of the Yarra Environmental Entitlement


Environmental water outcomes

In accordance with clauses entitled reporting requirements, the bulk entitlement holder or responsible authority must submit to the Minister for Water a report detailing their compliance with the conditions of the entitlement (in particular the passing flows) during the year.

Stream flow management plans: planned and unregulated surface water

Environmental water determination and commitment

Stream flow management plans (SFMP) prescribe how water will be shared between users and the environment in an equitable manner to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource. Broadly, the objectives of SFMPs are to determine water users' reasonable access to water through a permissible annual volume (PAV), while preserving environmental flows and protecting environmental values. Specific objectives are detailed in Schedule two of each of the SFMPs.

SFMPs currently apply to six water supply protection areas within the Yarra River catchment and are managed by Melbourne Water (see Table 11).

SFMPs outline the rules that licence holders must follow when abstracting water, including minimum passing flows that must be maintained to meet environmental flow targets. These are summarised in Table 11 and can also be found in each SFMP.

Table11. Environmental commitments and determinations for Yarra catchment specified in stream flow management plans – planned unregulated surface water

Streamflow management plans

Location

Licence conditions for maintaining environmental flows

Diamond Creek Stream Flow Management Plan

Hurstbridge gauging station

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <1.5 ML/day between 1 November and 30 June

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <13 ML/day between 1 July and 31 October

Users must not abstract water if daily streamflow is <9 ML/day between 1 July and 31 October

Hoddles Creek Stream Flow Management Plan

Launching Place

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <5 ML/day between 1 December and 31 May November and 30 June

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <10 ML/day between 1 June and 20 October

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <6.9 ML/day any day in November

Olinda Creek Stream Flow Management Plan

York Road gauging station

Users must not abstract water in the upper catchment if streamflow is <4.5 ML/day between 1 January and 31 March

Users must not abstract water in the upper catchment if stream flow is <6 ML/day between 1 November and 31 December and 1 April and 30 June

Users must not abstract water in the upper catchment if streamflow is <12 ML/day between 1 July and 31 October

McIntyre Lane gauging station

Users must not abstract water in the lower catchment if streamflow is <12 ML/day between 1 November and 30 June

Users must not abstract water in the lower catchment if streamflow is <16.6 ML/day between 1 July and 31 October

Plenty River Stream Flow Management Plan

Mernda gauging station

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven day period) streamflow is <1.5 ML/day between December 1 and 31 May

Users must not abstract water if average (across a seven-day period) streamflow is <2 ML/day between 1 June and 30 November

Steels, Pauls and Dixons Creeks Stream Flow Management Plan

Steels Creek gauging station

Users must not abstract water from Steels Creek and Dixons Creek if daily streamflow is <7 ML/day between 1 June and 30 November

Pauls Creek gauging station

Users must not abstract water from Pauls Creek if daily streamflow is <5 ML/day between 1 June and 30 November

Stringybark Creek Stream Flow Management Plan

Clegg Road gauging station

Users located above Clegg Road must not abstract water if streamflow is <1.5 ML/day between 1 November and 30 June

Users located above Clegg Road must not abstract water if streamflow is <4.3 ML/day between 1 July and 30 June

Users located below Clegg Road must not abstract water if streamflow is <8 ML/day between 1 July and 31 October


Environmental water outcomes

In accordance with section 32C of the Water Act 1989 (Victoria), Melbourne Water (responsible for administering and enforcing the SFMP) must submit to the Minister for Water a report detailing their compliance with the SFMP during the 2010–11 year. These reports can be found on the Melbourne Water website; however, they were not completed at the time the 2011 Account was published.