Murray–Darling Basin
Water access and use

Water rights, entitlements, allocations and restrictions

a. Introduction

This note provides information about the water access rights granted by jurisdictions to the users of the Murray–Darling Basin (MDB) region's water resources and the associated allocation announcements, diversions, adjustments, and forfeitures. Information about restrictions to water access rights is available through links provided to relevant line items in this note.

High-level information on legislative, administrative and governing arrangements of surface water rights in the MDB region is available under Water entitlements in 'Water rights' in the 'Contextual information'.

Other arrangements, contracts, or inter-basin agreements that may or may not result in the creation of water assets and water liabilities are not reported here but in the Surface water and Groundwater notes, depending on which water resource or system they affect.

The 2013 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 2013 Account, the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) has developed and applied an accounting concept to classify and report water rights within a water-asset/water-liability framework.

According to that framework, surface water rights are categorised broadly into:

Groundwater rights are categorised broadly into:

 

b. Surface water rights

Summarised information on surface water rights, allocation, abstraction, adjustments, and forfeiture of allocated water is presented in tables 1–3 for the 2012–13 year for the region. Allocation announcement, allocation diversion, adjustments, forfeiture, and carry-over are all linked together. Tables 1–3 do not include carry-over information, which is available in line items 5.1 Surface water allocation remaining and 5.2 Surface water allocation remaining – urban water system. Table 4 provides a breakdown of surface water rights for all categories relevant to the region on water resource plan (WRP) area basis.

Unregulated (called 'unsupplemented' in Queensland) entitlements have been categorised under line item 32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions. Regulated (called 'supplemented' in Queensland) entitlements have been categorised under line item 32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions. See the National Water Account Glossary for definitions of regulated, unregulated, entitlements or other terms used in this note.

The following jurisdiction-specific characteristics apply to the information presented in tables 1–3:

  • In Queensland: entitlement giving access to unregulated (unsupplemented) flows may report either the volumetric limit (the maximum volume of water that can be abstracted over a given period), or the nominal volume  (for water allocations with flow conditions, the nominal volume approximates the long-term annual average volume of accessible water for the entitlement).
  • In Queensland: entitlement giving access to regulated (supplemented) flows may report the nominal volume, against which allocations are announced.
  • In New South Wales: entitlements giving access to unregulated flows may report the entitled volume, which specifies an upper limit to the volume of water that can be abstracted over a given period; in case the entitlement exists within a water sharing plan (commenced or in draft), as defined under the New South Wales Water Act 2000 (the Water Act), that period is 12 months, and in case the entitlement exists within an area that is still under the Water Act, and consequently has no water sharing plan, that period can be 12 months or several years. The actual duration of the period is unspecified in the table, as the data source used was the water audit monitoring (WAM) report, which did not contain this information.
  • In New South Wales: entitlement giving access to regulated flows may report the entitled volume, against which allocations are announced.
  • In Victoria: entitlements giving access to unregulated flows may report the entitled volume, which specifies an upper limit to the volume of water that can be abstracted over a 12-month period.
  • In Victoria: entitlement giving access to regulated flows may report the entitled volume, against which allocations are announced.
  • In South Australia: all entitlements have been classified as giving access to regulated flow and may report the entitled volume, against which allocations are announced.

Details of the information presented in the following tables and information on water restrictions can be accessed through the links provided.

 

Table 1  Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the Northern Basin of the MDB region
Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

32.1 Other statutory surface water rights

37,687

n/a

n/a

17.6

37,687

n/a

n/a

32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions

3,666,452

n/a

n/a

17.7

1,398,405

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

17.8

4,177

n/a

n/a

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions(non-urban)

1,965,208

21.1

825,265

17.11

1,437,049

13.1

112,563

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions (urban)

42,487

21.2

42,492

17.12

21,563

13.2

20,929

Total

5,711,834

Total

867,757

Total

2,898,881

Total

133,492

 

 

Table 2  Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the Southern Basin of the MDB region
Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

32.1 Other statutory surface water rights

30,523

n/a

n/a

17.6

30,523

n/a

n/a

32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions

1,170,762

n/a

n/a

17.7

668,541

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

17.8

8,896

n/a

n/a

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions(non-urban)

9,993,667

21.1

6,933,312

17.11

7,407,128

13.1

1,894,975

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions (urban)

560,381

21.2

496,545

17.12

344,035

13.2

152,510

Total

11,755,333

Total

7,429,857

Total

8,459,123

Total

2,047,485

 

Table 3  Summarised information on surface water rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the whole MDB region
Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

32.1 Other statutory surface water rights

68,210

n/a

n/a

17.6

68,210

n/a

n/a

32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions

4,837,214

n/a

n/a

17.7

2,066,946

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

17.8

13,073

n/a

n/a

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions (non-urban)

11,958,875

21.1

7,758,577

17.11

8,844,177

13.1

2,007,538

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions (urban)

602,868

21.2

539,037

17.12

365,598

13.2

173,439

Total

17,467,167

Total

8,297,614

Total

11,358,004

Total

2,180,977

 

 
Table 4  Surface water entitlements as at 30 June 2013 (basic rights and unregulated flows are estimates)
Surface water resource plan area

Jurisdiction

Basic rights (ML)

Entitlements for non-allocated diversion1

Entitlements for allocated diversion2

Total3 (ML)

Unregulated entitlements (excluding supplementary and environmental entitlements) (ML)

Supplementary (excluding environmental entitlements) entitlements (ML)

Environmental (unregulated and supplementary) entitlements (ML)

Non-urban (ML)

Urban (ML)

Environmental (ML)

SW20 Warrego–Paroo–Nebine  Qld

94,429

0

21,970

2,612

0

0

119,011

SW19 Condamine–Balonne  Qld

1,830,143

0

49,605

114,981

0

0

1,994,729

SW18 Moonie  Qld

75,065

0

1,415

0

0

0

76,480

SW17 Queensland Border Rivers  Qld

399,295

0

4,286

92,555

0

11,684

507,820

SW16 NSW Border Rivers  NSW

10,373

32,421

120,001

0

265,442

620

298

429,155

SW12 Barwon–Darling watercourse  NSW

825

158,827

0

25,575

0

0

0

185,227

SW13 NSW Intersecting Streams  NSW

2,456

18,843

0

17,826

0

0

0

39,125

SW15 Gwydir  NSW

9,555

62,923

157,807

22,240

420,295

3,836

108,241

784,897

SW14 Namoi  NSW

6,071

129,552

115,469

0

286,409

19,186

7,212

563,899

SW11 Macquarie–Castlereagh  NSW

8,407

278,720

46,700

3,340

490,950

18,845

164,529

1,011,491

Sub-total Northern Basin

37,687

3,080,218

439,977

146,257

1,673,244

42,487

291,964

5,711,834

SW10 Lachlan  NSW

10,697

53,386

3,125

0

547,559

15,545

139,430

769,742

SW9 Murrumbidgee  NSW

10,806

81,059

165,543

33,237

2,226,652

43,585

472,026

3,032,707

SW8 NSW Murray and Lower Darling  NSW

9,020

45,889

152,368

363,021

1,782,460

46,827

516,459

2,916,582

SW3 Northern Victoria  Vic.

147,692

0

0

1,291,580

97,960

455,293

1,992,525

SW2 Victorian Murray  Vic.

49,090

0

74,300

1,364,620

58,154

452,998

1,999,162

SW4 Wimmera–Malee  Vic.

0

0

0

30,960

47,310

69,560

147,830

SW5 and SW7 SA Murray Region and Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges SA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

SW6 South Australian River Murray SA

0

0

0

498,191

180,000

145,879

824,070

SW1 ACT  ACT

2,052

0

0

0

71,000

0

73,052

Sub-total Southern Basin

30,523

379,168

321,036

470,558

7,742,022

560,381

2,251,645

11,755,333

Total for the region

68,210

3,459,386

761,013

616,815

9,415,266

602,868

2,543,609

17,467,167

Note

– = Data not available

1 Water rights that may not create a water liability (includes basic rights and entitlements associated with unregulated flows and New South Wales supplementary licences)

2 Water rights that may create a water liability (includes entitlements associated with allocation diversion)

3 Entitlements with different reliabilities have been added to form the values in the Total column

 

c. Groundwater rights

Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocation, abstraction, adjustments, and forfeiture of allocated water is presented in tables 5–7 for the 2012–13 year for the region. Allocation announcement, allocation abstraction and use, adjustments, forfeiture and carry-over are all linked together. Tables 5–7 do not include carry-over information, which is available in line items 6.1 Groundwater allocation remaining and 6.2 Groundwater allocation remaining – urban water system.

In the tables, water right volumes for non-urban, urban and supplementary groundwater access entitlements are included under 33.3 'Groundwater access entitlement for allocated extractions'. No information is provided in the tables under line item 33.2 'Groundwater access entitlement for non-alloacted extractions' (entitlement or other arrangement that may not produce a groundwater liability).  This is because all available entitlement information was provided under line item 33.3 assuming entitled volume is a liability even there was no formal allocation announcement.

Table 8 provides a breakdown of groundwater rights for all categories relevant to the region on Groundwater resource plan area basis.

 

Table 5  Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment, and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the Northern Basin of the MDB region

Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

33.1 Other statutory groundwater rights

51,769

n/a

n/a

18.7

74,329

n/a

n/a

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction

564,231

22.1

661,110

18.11

361,731

14.1

299,379

22.2

27,350

18.12

13,021

14.2

14,329

Total

616,000

Total

688,460

Total

449,082

Total

313,708

 

 

Table 6  Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment, and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the Southern Basin of the MDB region

Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

33.1 Other statutory groundwater rights

156,087

n/a

n/a

18.7

156,087

n/a n/a
33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction

1,725,306

22.1

1,485,883

18.11

580,611

14.1

905,863

22.2

41,466

18.12

24,003

14.2

17,463

Total

1,881,392

Total

1,527,349

Total

760,701

Total

923,326

 

 

Table 7  Summarised information on groundwater rights, allocations, abstractions, adjustment, and forfeiture during the 2012–13 year for the whole MDB region
Water rights (at 30 June 2013)

Water allocation (the 2012–13 year)

Water abstraction/use (the 2012–13 year)

Forfeiture, adjustment (the 2012–13 year)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

Account line item

Volume (ML)

33.1 Other statutory groundwater rights

207,855

n/a

n/a

18.7

230,416

n/a

n/a

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocation extraction

2,289,537

22.1

2,146,993

18.11

942,343

14.1

1,205,242

22.2

68,816

18.12

37,024

14.2

31,792

Total

2,497,392

Total

2,215,809

Total

1,209,782

Total

1,237,034

 

 

Table 8  Approximate groundwater water entitlements as at 30 June 2013 for the groundwater resource plan areas selected for the 2013 Account
Groundwater resource plan area

Jurisdiction

Other statutory groundwater rights1 (ML)

Entitlements2 

Total (ML)

Non-urban (ML)

Urban (ML)

Supplementary3 (ML)

GW18 New South Wales Border Rivers Alluvium NSW 380 17,435 45 0 17,860
GW17 New England Fractured Rock and Northern Basalts NSW 17,961 11,531 562 0 30,054
GW16 Eastern Porous Rock NSW 6,243 19,930 420 0 26,593
GW 15 Gwydir Alluvium NSW

773

30,048

3,632

13,930

48,383

GW 14 Namoi Alluvium NSW

10,489

260,945

11,706

58,657

341,797

GW13 New South Wales Great Artesian Basin Shallow NSW

3,268

5,694

50

0

9,012

GW 12 Macquarie–Castlereagh Alluvium NSW

2,220

114,231

11,280

2,396

130,127

GW 11 Lachlan and South Western Fractured Rock NSW

8,154

1,519

0

0

9,673

GW7 Darling Alluvium  NSW

2,281

0

220

0

2,501

Sub-total Northern Basin

51,769

461,333

27,915

74,983

616,000

GW 11 Lachlan and South Western Fractured Rock NSW

79,524

85,551

3,076

0

168,151

GW7 Darling Alluvium  NSW

730

928

0

0

1,658

GW 10 Lachlan Alluvium NSW

10,316

283,480

9,900

21,238

324,934

GW 9 Murrumbidgee Alluvium NSW

4,824

331,080

27,914

41,196

405,014

GW 8 Murray Alluvium NSW

3,550

212,297

1,822

47,782

265,451

GW6 Western Porous Rock NSW

26,747

32,272

0

0

59,019

GW 2 Goulburn–Murray Vic

24,778

450,886

n/a n/a 475,664
GW 3 Wimmera–Mallee (groundwater) Vic

2,488

91,956

n/a n/a 94,444
GW 5 Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges SA

270

11,156

0

0

11,426
GW 4 South Australian Murray Region SA

2,860

71,821

0

0

74,681
GW1 Australian Capital Territory (groundwater)  ACT

0

951

0

0

951

Sub-total Southern Basin

156,087

1,572,378

42,712

110,216

1,881,392

Total for the region

207,855

2,033,711

70,627

185,199

2,497,392

   

Notes

1 Other statutory groundwater rights are an estimate of the rights existing at the commencement of the management plans in New South Wales. Volumes from other states were not available for this table. The rights enable individuals to abstract water for stock and domestic purposes where licences are not normally formally issued for these rights.

2 Licensed entitlements include all licences issued under the respective management plans, excluding New South Wales supplementary licenses. Volumes from Australian Capital Territory or Queensland were not available for this table.

3 Supplementary licenses are a category of licence within New South Wales only, where it has already been established that the total volume being extracted from the aquifer needs to be reduced. These licenses have reducing allocations to zero over the life of the management plans.

 

d. Combined surface water and groundwater rights

For the 2012–13 year, combined surface water and groundwater access entitlements were available in the Australian Capital Territory within the Southern Basin of the MDB region. There were 39 active entitlements with a total volume of 2,508 ML that may abstract water from either groundwater or surface water in the Australian Capital Territory.

 

e. Landscape water rights

Runoff harvesting entitlements are the water rights under which landscape runoff is harvested into Off-channel water storages (line item 27.1 Off-channel water storages). Reliable information on runoff harvesting entitlement volumes was not available for inclusion in the water account. Information on volume of water diverted under these entitlements during the 2012–13 year is available in line item 30.3 Runoff harvesting into off-channel water store and in the Off-channel storages note.

Following is an explanation of the different terms used within the MDB and how each jurisdiction manages runoff that may be harvested from the land, thus preventing it from reaching a watercourse.

Queensland

Queensland uses the term overland flow. Overland flow is water that runs across the land after rainfall, either before it enters a watercourse, after it leaves a watercourse as floodwater, or after it rises to the surface naturally from underground. Most water in rivers and underground reserves originates as overland flow. If too much water is intercepted before it reaches a watercourse, or if too much floodwater is intercepted before it returns to a watercourse, there can be serious implications for:

  • towns, industries and farms that rely on watercourses for water supplies
  • landholders who rely on beneficial flooding
  • the maintenance of healthy waterways
  • groundwater recharge
  • ecosystems relying on periodic inundation.

A person may harvest overland flow for any purpose unless there is a moratorium notice, a water resource plan or wild river declaration that limits or alters the water that may be harvested. Rules in water resource plans established under the Queensland Water Act 2000regulate the building of works that harvest overland flow either actively or passively.

Works that harvest overland flow actively include:

  • pumps, storages, sumps, drains and pipes used to harvest and store it
  • any storage connected to another one used to harvest it, and the connecting infrastructure
  • structures used to hold it for ponded pastures.

Works that harvest overland flow passively include:

  • levees or diversion banks used to direct it into dams, or to slow it down to increase the amount harvested. This does not include works used in soil conservation.

Water resource plans do not regulate works that interfere with, but were not built specifically to harvest overland flow; however, local planning laws may still regulate the building of these structures which include:

  • contour banks
  • fences
  • roads.

Where the construction of overland flow works is regulated, the development may be either assessable or self-assessable development under the Queensland Sustainable Planning Act 2009. Currently, the harvesting of overland flow is regulated in the following water resource plan areas:

  • Border Rivers
  • Condamine and Balonne
  • Moonie
  • Warrego, Paroo and Nebine.

In all of these areas, it is required to have:

  • an authorisation to harvest overland flow for purposes other than stock and domestic
  • a development permit under the Queensland Sustainable Planning Act 2009 for most works for harvesting overland flow.

New South Wales

Landholders in most New South Wales rural areas are allowed to collect a proportion of the rainfall runoff on their property and store it in one or more dams up to a certain size. This is known as a harvestable right. Harvestable right water is generally intended for essential stock and household use but can be used for any purpose.

All rural landholders in New South Wales are able to maintain or build farm dams. There are several categories of farm dams that do not require a licence:

  • harvestable right dams
  • dams built before 1999 used only for stock and domestic purposes
  • dams up to one mega litre on small properties.

In addition to rainfall runoff harvesting, New South Wales has addressed floodplain harvesting. Floodplain harvesting is the collection, abstraction or impoundment of water flowing across floodplains.

Harvesting of on-farm rainfall runoff is not included within the definition of floodplain harvesting; however, because rainfall runoff can be harvested by the same infrastructure as floodplain abstractions, it is important to specify the regulatory distinction between the two types of water abstraction. All rainfall runoff harvesting must be in accordance with the harvestable rights order by which the area is constituted as provided for under Chapter 3, Part 1, Division 2 of the New South Wales Water Management Act 2000. Within most of New South Wales, the allowable maximum harvestable right is currently 10% of average annual runoff. The runoff is primarily a function of rainfall, evaporation, soil type, topography, and vegetation cover. The allowable runoff harvesting volume is converted to a maximum harvestable right dam capacity, using a publicly available, web-based calculator. The allowable harvestable right volume of runoff will be assumed to have been abstracted and will be factored into the assessment of floodplain harvesting abstractions.

New South Wales Floodplain Harvesting Policy (NSW Office of Water 2013) outlines how floodplain harvesting abstractions will be managed within long-term average annual abstraction limits under water sharing plans and the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council Cap where applicable. There will be no growth in overall abstractions on a valley-wide basis as a result of the implementation of this policy. All floodplain harvesting activities will require a water supply work approval and a floodplain harvesting water access licence issued under the New South Wales Water Management Act 2000.

Victoria

The Northern Region Sustainable Water Strategy for Victoria discusses the impacts of interception activities. Interception activities are a risk to water availability because they capture rainfall before it becomes surface runoff or groundwater recharge. These activities include small catchment dams (for farms or domestic and stock use), changes in land use and the impact of forest regeneration due to bushfires. These activities have not historically required a water entitlement (except for small catchment dams for irrigation or commercial purposes, which have required a licence since 2002); however, they can reduce the amount of water available to downstream entitlement holders and the environment.

Unlike dams for commercial and irrigation use, dams for domestic and stock use are not licensed and therefore can continue to be built without scrutiny of their impact on downstream users and the environment. In Victoria, rights to water for domestic and stock use (private rights) are specified in Section 8 of the Victorian Water Act 1989.  Under this section, people are able to access water without a formal entitlement and free of charge under specific arrangements in the Victorian Water Act 1989.  This includes farm dams for domestic and stock purposes.

Based on current estimates, unlicensed dams capture six per cent of the available runoff generated by landscape in northern Victoria. At a local level, the impact of unlicensed dams can be even greater.

Several actions have been highlighted in the Northern Region sustainable water strategy to manage the impacts of stock and domestic use. Some key actions will be:

  • requiring the registration of all new or altered domestic and stock dams within rural residential areas and promoting sustainable use in accordance with guidelines for reasonable domestic and stock use;
  • monitoring growth in domestic and stock use
  • clarifying the need to obtain a Section 51 licence for harvesting water for uses other than domestic and stock purposes.

South Australia

The South Australia Government's Water for Good strategy identifies a number of projects to increase the volume of water collected from stormwater harvesting, both within Adelaide and in rural South Australia. These projects involve storing and treating stormwater in wetlands and aquifers to improve water quality.  Only a small number of such projects are within the South Australian MDB region. Landscape water rights within the South Australian MDB region include water access entitlements in the Marne Saunders and Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges for water flowing over the land, whether modified or not, excluding water contained in a watercourse.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory government's Think Water Act Water strategy (Australian Capital Territory Government 2011b) for sustainable water resource management in the Australian Capital Territory, outlines actions the Australian Capital Territory government plans to improve management of stormwater runoff, including adopting water sensitive urban design principles. 

f. Water restrictions

Table 9 provides information on water restrictions applicable during the 2012–13 year for different entitlement classes within the region.

 

Table 9 Details of water restrictions as applicable in the 2012–13 year
Sustainable diversion limit area  

Entitlement class

State/Territory

Details of water restriction

Code

Name

SS15 Murrumbidgee NSW High security – urban and local water utility NSW Restrictions for urban water supply related to urban entitlements were at the discretion of local urban councils. Details of implemented restrictions were not available at the data collection stage for the 2013 Account.
SS14 NSW Murray High security – urban and local water utility NSW Restrictions for urban water supply related to urban entitlements were at the discretion of local urban councils. Details of implemented restrictions were not available at the data collection stage for the 2013 Account.
SS4 Ovens Urban bulk entitlements – regulated Vic. Town supplies are restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS5 Broken Urban bulk entitlements – Broken Vic. Town supplies are restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS6 Goulburn Urban bulk entitlements: Goulburn 'channel', Goulburn to Coliban and  Goulburn 'river' Vic. Town supplies are restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS7 Campaspe  Urban and rural bulk entitlements: Coliban, Campaspe 'channel'  and Campaspe regulated river Vic. Town supplies are restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS8 Loddon Urban bulk entitlements – Loddon Vic. Town supplies are also restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS2 Victorian Murray Urban bulk entitlements – regulated Vic. Town supplies are also restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS9 Wimmera–Mallee   High reliability water share   Vic. Town supplies are also restricted by the Victorian permanent water savings rules.
SS11 SA Murray Class 2 – SA country towns and Class 6 – metropolitan Adelaide and associated country areas) SA Permanent water savings conservation measures came into effect from 1 December 2010.
SS1 ACT  ACTEW Water – reservoir extractions ACT Due to minimal inflows and low storage volumes, restrictions operated for this class of entitlement. Stage 2 water restrictions were lifted in the ACT on 1 November 2010 and have been replaced by permanent water conservation measures.

Information on limitations related to available water for New South Wales sustainable diversion limit areas is available in New South Wales Office of Water's Available water determinations 2012–13 (NSW Office of Water 2014b).

Information on limitations on allocations for high and low reliability water shares (non-urban use) in Victorian sustainable diversion limit areas in 2012–13 is available in Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries' Monthly water Reports (Department of Environment and Primary Industries 2014a).

For the sustainable diversion limit areas not included in the above table, water restriction information is not available.

 

Water market activity

Purpose of the note

This note reports on water market activities that occurred in the MDB region during the 2012–13 year.

Content of the note

Both surface water and groundwater trade is reported for the MDB Region during the 2012–13 year. The following information on water trades is included in this note:

  • approved permanent trade of surface water and groundwater entitlements
  • approved lease of surface water and groundwater entitlements
  • approved trade of surface water and groundwater allocations
  • impact of inter-valley trade on regions' water assets and liabilities.
Surface water trade

During the 2012–13 year, no water was traded into or out of the MDB region.

Table 10 summarises entitlement and allocation surface water and groundwater trade within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year.

  

Table 10  Summarised information on entitlement and allocation water trade within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year
Line item

Volume (ML)

Northern Basin

Southern Basin

Whole region

Surface water entitlement trade
35.1 Trade of surface water entitlement within region

350,079

611,255

961,334

35.2 Trade of surface water entitlement into region

0

0

0

35.3 Trade of surface water entitlement out of region

0

0

0

Surface water entitlement lease
36.1 Lease of surface water entitlement within region

0

19,433

19,433

Surface water allocation and tagged trade
37.1 Surface water allocation trade within region

565,923

5,419,706

5,985,629

37.2 Surface water allocation trade into region

0

0

0

37.3 Surface water allocation trade out of region

0

0

0

Groundwater entitlement trade
38.1 Trade of groundwater entitlement within region

15,357

66,908

82,265

Groundwater entitlement lease
39.1 Lease of groundwater entitlement within region

0

0

0

Groundwater allocation and tagged trade
40.1 Groundwater allocation trade within region

14,681

60,177

74,858

– = Data not available

The volumes provided in the above table were based on data available at the sources (see line items 35.1 to 40.1 for data sources).

Surface water entitlement trade

Surface water entitlement trade for the MDB region was reported only under line item 35.1 Trade of surface water entitlement within region for the reporting year. This line item includes the volume of permanent entitlement sales within and between sustainable diversion limit (SDL) areas approved during the 2012–13 year. No entitlement water trade occurred between two segments (the Northern Basin and the Southern Basin) defined on the MDB region or between the segments and outside the region.

Surface water entitlement lease

Information on surface water entitlement lease for the MDB region was reported under line item 36.1 Lease of surface water entitlement within region for the reporting year. Seasonal water flow associated with lease of surface water entitlements is included in allocation and tagged trade within the region (in line item 37.1 Surface water allocation trade within region).

Surface water allocation trade

Surface water allocation trade for the MDB region was reported under line item 37.1 Surface water allocation trade within region for the reporting year. This line item includes the volume of allocation trade within and into (from other SDL areas) SDL areas, and within and out of (to other SDL areas) SDL areas. Allocation trade volumes provided in this note include tagged trade and environmental water trades.

No allocation trade occurred between the segments and outside the region. Trade of consumptive water (for the purposes irrigation, urban and industrial etc.) between the Southern Basin and the Northern Basin is prohibited.

The following table presents information on inter-state allocation trade during the 2012–13 year.

Table 11  Inter-state allocation trade during the 2012–13 year
Purchased from

Purchased to (SDL area)

Volume (ML)

State SDL area

State

SDL area

Qld Qld Border Rivers NSW NSW Border Rivers 500
NSW NSW Border Rivers Qld Qld Border Rivers

22,827

Vic. Vic Murray NSW Lower Darling

14,135

Vic. Goulburn NSW Lower Darling

633

Vic. Loddon NSW Lower Darling

104

Vic. Vic Murray NSW Murrumbidgee NSW

33,269

Vic. Goulburn NSW Murrumbidgee NSW

11,754

Vic. Campaspe NSW Murrumbidgee NSW

120

Vic. Loddon NSW Murrumbidgee NSW

422

Vic. Vic Murray NSW NSW Murray

79,927

Vic. Goulburn NSW NSW Murray

15,859

Vic. Campaspe NSW NSW Murray

650

Vic. Loddon NSW NSW Murray

2,748

SA SA Murray NSW Lower Darling

10,700

SA SA Murray NSW Murrumbidgee NSW

7,240

SA SA Murray NSW NSW Murray

7,751

NSW Lower Darling Vic. Vic Murray

1,555

NSW Lower Darling Vic. Goulburn

200

NSW Lower Darling Vic. Loddon

1,500

NSW Murrumbidgee NSW Vic. Vic Murray 10978
NSW Murrumbidgee NSW Vic. Goulburn

606

NSW Murrumbidgee NSW Vic. Loddon

253

NSW NSW Murray Vic. Vic Murray

34,198

NSW NSW Murray Vic. Goulburn

620

NSW NSW Murray Vic. Loddon

1,547

SA SA Murray Vic. Vic Murray

41,728

SA SA Murray Vic. Goulburn

7,857

SA SA Murray Vic. Loddon

4,243

NSW Lower Darling SA SA Murray

55,260

NSW Murrumbidgee NSW SA SA Murray

64,895

NSW NSW Murray SA SA Murray

293,577

Vic. Vic Murray SA SA Murray

578,705

Vic. Goulburn SA SA Murray

8,260

Vic. Campaspe SA SA Murray

1,638

Vic. Loddon SA SA Murray

2,253

Trading volumes include environmental trade volumes. Reliable data source for details of environmental trades was not available at the time of data collection for the 2013 Account.

Inter-state allocation trade shown in the above table during the 2012–13 year resulted in net inward movement of water for Queensland and South Australia and net outward movement for New South Wales and Victoria as shown in the following table. A similar trend of net allocation trade was observed for the 2011–12 year.

Table 12 Net inter-state allocation trade for the states within the region during 2012–13 year
From

To

Net allocation trade (ML)

New South Wales Queensland 22,327
New South Wales South Australia 388,041
Victoria New South Wales 108,164
Victoria South Australia 537,028
Groundwater trade

During the 2012–13 year, no groundwater was traded into or out of the MDB region.

Table 10 above summarises entitlement and allocation groundwater trade within the MDB region during the 2012–13 year.

Groundwater entitlement trade for the MDB region was reported only under line item 38.1 Trade of groundwater entitlement within region for the reporting year. This line item includes the volume of permanent entitlement sales within and between groundwater sustainable diversion limit (SDL) areas approved during the 2012–13 year. No entitlement trade occurred between two segments (the Northern Basin and the Southern Basin) defined on the MDB region or between the segments and outside the region.

There was no lease of groundwater entitlement during the 2012–13 year (Table 10 and line item 39.1 Lease of groundwater entitlement within region).

Groundwater allocation trade for the MDB region was reported under line item 40.1 Groundwater allocation trade within region for the reporting year. This line item includes the volume of allocation trade within and into (from other SDL areas) SDL areas, and within and out of (to other SDL areas) SDL areas. Allocation trade volumes provided in this note include tagged trade trades. No allocation trade occurred between the segments and outside the region.

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

All water trades occurred within the boundaries of the MDB region and no water trade crossed the boundary between the northern and southern basins.

Nevertheless, water trades between different water resource planning areas of the MDB had a significant impact on the allocations announced, diverted, forfeited, and carried-over. This is reflected in the water assets and liabilities of the water resource plan area. These transactions are not reported in this note; however, movement of water as a result of those transactions has impacted on diversions volumes (reported in line items 17.11 Entitled diversion of allocated surface water to users and 17.12 Entitled diversion of allocated surface water to urban water system in the water accounting statements). Any water availability imbalances associated with the transactions have been considered in line items 21.1 Surface water allocation announcements and 21.2 Surface water allocation announcements – urban water system.

 Impact of inter-valley trade on water assets and water liabilities

Water traded into or out of valleys within the MDB region impacts on the valleys' water assets and water liabilities in several ways including:

  • creation of claims and obligations between valleys
  • transfer of the obligation to deliver allocated water to the water users.

In the case of trade into a valley:

  • when the trade transaction is approved, there is the creation of a claim (non-physical water asset) by the destination valley of the trade (i.e. where the purchaser is registered), against the source valley (i.e., where the seller is registered)
  • delivery obligation is moved from the selling valley to buying valley
  • when water is physically transferred to the destination valley, it decreases its claim (non-physical water asset) against the source valley.

Creation of claims and obligations between valleys

In the case of trade out of a valley, the reverse occurs:

  • when the trade transaction is approved, there is the creation of an obligation (water liability) in the source valley of the trade towards the destination valley
  • when water is physically transferred out of the source valley, it decreases its obligation (water liability) towards the destination valley.

Note that in both cases the inter-valley transfer may occur in a subsequent water year to the year to when the trade was approved. The inter-valley transfer may be cancelled by back-trade or the inter-valley transfer account may spill which cancels the obligation to the destination valley. For instance, water traded to South Australia up to 31 March in a water year is delivered from September to April in that water year in the same pattern of delivery as the remaining South Australian monthly diversion entitlements from the month following when the trade occurred to the end of April. Water traded from 01 April – 30 June is adjusted for over the following September–April.

Transfer of the obligation to deliver water to the users

When water is traded from a source valley to a destination valley, the obligation (water liability) to deliver the allocated water to the user is transferred from the source to the destination valley. The newly created liability in the destination valley will be settled when the allocated water is diverted by the purchaser of the water trade.

Water use

a. Economic, social and cultural benefit

Introduction

Town water supplies are made for various purposes including residential needs, and industrial and commercial purposes. They have been categorised under the social benefit category, assuming their main purpose within the MDB region is to serve residential needs. With that assumption, water right or entitlement classes directly related to social and cultural benefits identified in the MDB region for the 2012–13 year were:

  • surface water entitlements – high security – Aboriginal cultural
  • surface water basic right – stock and domestic
  • surface water entitlements – stock and domestic
  • surface water entitlements – urban supplies
  • surface water entitlements – high security – community and education
  • groundwater basic right – stock and domestic
  • groundwater entitlements – urban supplies.

It is also possible that water supplies made under entitlement categories other than stated in the above list have contributed to social and cultural benefits. The 2013 Account does not recognise those contributions.

Water supplies made under some of the entitlement classes relevant to the following entitlement categories have contributed to economic benefits:

  • Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions (line item 32.2)
  • Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions (line item 32.3)
  • Groundwater access entitlement for allocated extractions (line item 33.3)

The 2013 Account does not recognise details of economic contributions made under the entitlement classes of those entitlement categories.

It is also possible that water supplies made under other statutory surface water and groundwater rights (line items 32.1 and 33.1) have contributed to economic benefits. The 2013 Account does not recognise those contributions.

The 2013 Account assumes that the water right/entitlement class represents its purpose; however, it is likely that people use water for other activities in addition to the intended purpose of the right/entitlement class. This is the case particularly in valleys where trade has been conducted. With trades, it is possible that water moved from different classes and changed the volume for the intended purpose. The 2013 Account provides information based on the class or categorisation of rights or entitlement, but it does not provide information about where or how water was finally used.

Social and cultural rights

Cultural basic right allows abstraction of water by anyone who holds native title rights with respect to water, as determined under the Australian Government Native Title Act 1993. The right holders can abstract water for a range of needs without holding a water access licence. This includes accessing water for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes such as:

  • manufacture of traditional artefacts
  • hunting, fishing, and gathering
  • recreation
  • cultural purposes
  • ceremonial purposes.

Stock and domestic licences for surface water and groundwater basic rights allow the right holders to abstract water to meet basic requirements for household and stock purposes.

Urban water entitlements associated with surface water and groundwater allow water utilities and local councils to provide water for residential needs. 

Jurisdictional provisions for social and cultural water supplies

Queensland

Queensland water resource plans identify that (as outcomes for sustainable water management, among others) the following social and cultural benefits are required (Queensland Government 2009b). Water is to be allocated and managed in a way that seeks to achieve a balance in the following outcomes:

  • to make water available to support economic activity in the plan area while recognising the social and cultural values of communities in the MDB region
  • to build social cohesiveness in the community by recognising the multiple users of water, including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous social and cultural needs
  • to promote improved understanding of social and cultural resources.

 Water management rules have been adopted in water resources plan areas to achieve these outcomes.

New South Wales

The vision in the Water Sharing Plan for the Murrumbidgee Regulated River Water Source 2003 is to provide for equitable sharing of limited water resources to sustain a healthy and productive river, to contribute to the welfare and well-being of Murrumbidgee regional communities.

The objectives of the Murrumbidgee plan are to:

  • protect basic landholder rights, as specified in the New South Wales Water Management Act 2000, including native title rights
  • protect town water supply
  • provide for identified recreational water needs
  • protect identified Indigenous and traditional uses of water.

Town water supplies are protected by water access licences. In addition, the Murrumbidgee plan also makes provisions for regulated river—high security—Aboriginal cultural supplies.

Other water sharing plans that have commenced in New South Wales have similar visions and objectives with respect to social and cultural benefits.

The New South Wales plans have also generally adopted an approach that indicates sites of Aboriginal significance, including wetlands, are managed through the environmental watering regime. Although 506 ML has been recorded as Aboriginal cultural supplies in Murrumbidgee sustainable diversion limit (SDL) area, no specific information is available to identify details of  Aboriginal sites benefitted from the supply in the 2012–13 year.

 Australian Capital Territory

Limited information was available to explain how the Australian Capital Territory addresses the social and cultural benefits of water.

An objective of the Australian Capital Territory Water Resources Act 1998 is to ensure that the use and management of the water resources of the Australian Capital Territory sustain the physical, economic, and social well-being of the people of the territory while protecting the ecosystems that depend on those resources.

Victoria

Some of the strategies for managing water for social benefit in Victoria are addressed through the:

  • Victorian permanent water saving rules;
  • incentive and rebate schemes;
  • actions to increase water recycling and alternative water supplies;
  • stormwater and urban water recycling projects; and
  • upgrading of existing treatment facilities.

South Australia

The Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse sets out provisions for country towns and urban supplies. It also prescribes an allocation for recreation class.

Information on rights and water use related to social and cultural benefits

Rights related to social and cultural aspects, and relevant water use in the 2012–13 year in the MDB region are listed in the following table.

Table 19  Distribution of water rights and use related to social and cultural benefits in the MDB region for the 2012–13 year
Type of water supply

Type of water right

Entitlement class

Water right (ML)

Volume used in the 2012–13 year (ML)

Line item for details of water right

Line itemfor details of water used

Remarks

Surface water rights          
cultural water supplies surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions high security – Aboriginal cultural

2,150

506

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions 17.11Entitled diversion of allocated surface water to users only for Murrumbidgee SDL area in  New South Wales
social water supplies surface water basic rights  n/a

68,210

68,210

32.1 Other statutory surface water rights 17.6 Surface water diversions – other statutory rights only for New South Wales 
surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions stock and domestic

12,100

32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-allocated diversions  17.7 Entitled diversion of non-allocated surface water to users  
urban supplies

91,422

13,073

17.8 Entitled diversion of non-allocated surface water to urban water system For some SDL areas, entitlements and associated water use for urban supplies are included in other entitlement classes: separate information is not available. Stated entitlement volume does not include major utility entitlement (15,876 ML) for Macquarie–Castlereagh SDL area.
surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions stock and domestic

88,060

47,203

32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions 17.11 Entitled diversion of allocated surface water to users water right information only for New South Wales and South Australia, diversion information only for New South Wales.
high security – community and education

47

28

only for Murray SDL area in  New South Wales
domestic, stock and urban supplies

3,242

for Northern Mallee supplies in Murray SDL area in  Victoria
urban supplies

602,868

365,598

17.12 Entitled diversion of allocated surface water to urban water system Water right information applies to all jurisdictions; however, water use information for Queensland (included in line item 17.11) is excluded.
Total known/applicable surface water rights

868,099

494,618

     
Groundwater rights          
social water supplies groundwater – stock and domestic, and other lumped basic right n/a

207,855

230,416

33.1 Other statutory groundwater rights 18.7 Groundwater extractions – other statutory rights For Queensland, the extracted volume has been estimated as 22,561 ML; however, information on right volume is not available.
groundwater access entitlement for allocated extractions stock and domestic

33.3 Groundwater access entitlement for allocated extractions 18.11 Entitled extraction of allocated groundwater to users  
urban supplies

37,024

18.12 Entitled extraction of allocated groundwater to urban water system  
Total known/applicable groundwater rights

207,855

267,440

     
Total known/applicable

1,072,416

762,461

     

 – = no separate information is available

b. Environmental benefit

Introduction

This note provides following details for the MDB region:

  • environmental water management instruments and strategies
  • the water management categorisations under which environmental benefits are provided. 

Information on legislative, administrative, and governing arrangements of environmental water in the MDB region is available in Environmental water provisions in 'Administration' in the 'Contextual information'. It also includes information on organisations responsible for environmental water management in the jurisdictions.

In the MDB, environmental benefit is delivered through two broad management categorisations: planned environmental water and held environmental water.

Planned environmental water management is further categorised into:

  • Planned partly regulated (or supplemented) surface water — the dominant feature of environmental water management in this categorisation is the ability to control or influence flow by operational releases from storage.
  • Planned unregulated surface water — in this categorisation, water is managed for environmental benefit through controlling the water access regime.

Planned environmental water is water committed by a water resource plan (WRP) or legislation to achieve environmental outcomes. The Water management plans in 'Administration' in the 'Contextual information' includes links to jurisdictional water management plans that detail planned environmental water provisions within the MDB region.

Held environmental water is water available under a water right (entitlement or allocation) for the purpose of achieving environmental outcomes.

For each categorisation, the information, if available, is structured as follows:

  • Environmental water determinations: the environmental objectives. They are represented by environmental water provisions 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 and the environmental water commitments.
Environmental water management instruments and strategies within the MDB region

General environmental water management information applicable to the MDB region can be found in the National Water Commission's Australian environmental water management report 2010 (National Water Commission 2010).

Some key features of the environmental water regime within the MDB region are:

  • Each jurisdiction has legislative goals and mechanisms for managing surface water and groundwater systems. This includes managing environmental water delivery and use across the MDB region.
  • Within each jurisdiction, the water management plans that have been developed address requirements to provide water for the environment, by setting aside volumes that cannot be extracted from the system and through releasing volumes from a storage in a controlled manner to achieve a set of conditions downstream. The restrictions on extraction also apply to groundwater systems.
  • Not all areas of the MDB region have water management plans developed and approved.
  • In addition to water management plans, other programs have been introduced by governments to increase the volume of water that is provided for the environment. For example, the Australian Government has introduced the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP), which is a national program investing in rural water use, management and efficiency projects, including improved water knowledge and market reforms.  Under the program, water savings are recovered for the environment through three main components: irrigation infrastructure projects; supply measures; and water purchase (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2014a). The water rights acquired by the Commonwealth under this program become part of the Commonwealth environmental water holdings. These holdings are managed by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH). More information about Commonwealth environmental water holdings can be obtained from the Commonwealth environmental water annual report 2012–13 (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2014b) and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office website.
  • Jurisdictions have also delivered significant water recovery programmes over recent past, such as New South Wales River Bank, Rivers Environmental Restoration Program and Wetland Recovery Program.
  • Entitlements are held for the purpose of watering the environment as a result of the above mentioned and other programs (e.g. environmental entitlements held by the Minister for Environment in New South Wales, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority for The Living Murray program.
  • All environmental entitlements held by the Victorian Minister for Environment were transferred to the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in Victoria with effect from 1 July 2011.

Queensland

The structure of the Queensland WRPs is primarily aimed at providing planned environmental water rather than using held environmental water.

There is no environmental water holder within Queensland. The Commonwealth government has acquired entitlements in Queensland for environmental benefit.

New South Wales

The Office of Water within the Department of Primary Industries is responsible for water licence and regulation, including oversight of planned environmental water. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) within the Department of Premier and Cabinet collaborates with many other partners to manage  environmental water in New South Wales, including delivery of allocations from held environmental water and utilising planned environmental water to deliver environmental benefits. Environmental entilements (including TLM entitlements) managed by OEH as at 30 June 2013 was 397,000 ML (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage 2014).

Australian Capital Territory

The Department of Environment, Climate Change Energy and Water has developed Environmental Flow Guidelines 2006. The objectives set in the guidelines are met by releases from the storages, as planned partly regulated surface water management, rather than using held environmental water.

There is no environmental water holder within the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth government has not purchased any entitlements for environmental benefit in the Australian Capital Territory.

Victoria

The Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) held entitlements that could be used for environmental benefit during the 2012–13 year. A mixture of planned environmental water, which is addressed in the bulk entitlements and other rules, and water entitlements are used to deliver environmental benefits.

 South Australia

The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources manages environmental water. A mixture of planned environmental water and held environmental water is delivered to improve the ecological health of the River Murray, including wetlands, floodplain, and Lake Coorong. See the River Murray Water Allocation Plan for details (Government of South Australia 2009). 

Commonwealth environmental water programmes

Information about Commonwealth environmental water management involving the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder can be found in the Commonwealth environmental water annual report 2012–13 (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2014b).

The CEWH can trade Commonwealth environmental water and water holdings subject to conditions in the Australian Government Water Act 2007. Commonwealth environmental water holdings are published in the CEWH's annual report, and are updated each month on the Commonwealth environmental water holdings web site.

Information about environmental water delivery under the Living Murray Initiative can be obtained from Murray–Darling Basin Authority (2012a).

Environmental water determination and commitment

Planned partly regulated (or supplemented) surface water

This type of environmental water delivery occurs in some river reaches in the MDB region through the active release of environmental entitlements from a storage at the direction of the respective environmental entitlement holder.

The water regime to attain at given locations on the rivers (environmental water determination) and the storage release rules (environmental water commitments) are specified in approved water sharing and management plans that are listed under Water management plans in 'Administration' in the 'Contextual information'.

Planned unregulated surface water

Environmental water determination for planned unregulated surface water categorisation is based on provisions made in approved water sharing and management plans. Water management plans in 'Administration' in the 'Contextual information' includes details of these plans within the MDB region.

Held environmental water

Entitlements listed in the following tables were available during the 2012–13 year (as recorded on 30 June 2013) as held environmental entitlements. The entitlements held by the CEWH and under the Living Murray (TLM) Program are included in the tables. 

Entitlement volumes shown reflect only those that have been recorded as being legally held (or under the administrative operations of the environmental water manager). The entitlement volumes will be subject to change as water continues to be acquired under some programmes. In particular, the volumes held by the CEWH will increase as more entitlements are acquired.

  

Table 13  Summary of entitlements held or owned by environmental managers in the MDB region as applicable in the 2012–13 year
Water resource plan area

State

Total volume of entitlements (ML)

Name
SW20 Warrego–Paroo–Nebine Qld

21,970

SW19 Condamine-Balonne Qld

49,605

SW18 Moonie Qld

1,415

SW17 Qld Border Rivers Qld

15,970

SW16 NSW Border Rivers NSW

298

SW12 Barwon–Darling Watercourse NSW

25,575

SW13 NSW Intersecting Streams  NSW

17,826

SW15 Gwydir NSW

130,481

SW14 Namoi  NSW

7,212

SW11 Macquarie–Castlereagh NSW

167,869

Sub-total Northern Basin

438,221

SW10 Lachlan  NSW

139,430

SW9 Murrumbidgee  NSW

505,263

SW8 NSW Murray and Lower Darling NSW

879,480

SW3 Northern Victoria  Vic.

455,293

SW2 Vic. Murray Vic.

527,298

SW4 Wimmera–Mallee  Vic.

69,560

SW6 SA River Murray SA

145,879

Sub-total Southern Basin

2,722,203

Total

3,160,424

 

Table 14  Details of entitlements held or owned by environmental managers in the MDB region as applicable in the 2012–13 year
Water resource plan area

Sustainable diversion limit area1

State

Unregulated and supplementary flow entitlements2 (ML)

Regulated flow entitlements3 (ML)

Total (ML)

Name

Code

Name

Warrego – Paroo – Nebine SS 28 Warrego  Qld

16,050

0

16,050

SS 27 Nebine 

5,920

0

5,920

Condamine-Balonne SS 26 Condamine-Balonne Qld

49,605

0

49,605

Moonie SS 25 Moonie  Qld

1,415

0

1,415

Qld Border Rivers SS 24 Qld Border Rivers  Qld

4,286

11,684

15,970

Sub-total Queensland

77,276

11,684

88,960

NSW Border Rivers SS 23 NSW Border Rivers  NSW

0

298

298

Barwon–Darling Watercourse SS 19 Barwon–Darling Watercourse  NSW

25,575

0

25,575

NSW Intersecting Streams SS 17 NSW Intersecting Streams NSW

17,826

0

17,826

Gwydir SS 22 Gwydir NSW

22,240

108,241

130,481

Namoi  SS 21 Namoi  NSW

0

7,212

7,212

Macquarie–Castlereagh SS 20 Macquarie–Castlereagh  NSW

3,340

164,529

167,869

Lachlan  SS 16 Lachlan  NSW

0

139,430

139,430

Murrumbidgee  SS 15 Murrumbidgee  NSW NSW

33,237

472,026

505,263

NSW Murray and Lower Darling SS 14 NSW Murray NSW

113,021

467,667

580,688

SS 18 Lower Darling NSW

250,000

48,792

298,792

Sub-total New South Wales

465,239

1,408,195

1,873,434

Northern Victoria SS 4 Ovens  Vic.

0

70

70

SS 5 Broken  Vic.

0

51

51

SS 6 Goulburn Vic.

0

436,378

436,378

SS 7 Campaspe  Vic.

0

12,024

12,024

SS 8 Loddon Vic.

0

6,770

6,770

Vic Murray SS 2 Vic Murray  Vic.

74,300

452,998

527,298

Wimmera – Mallee  SS 9 Wimmera – Mallee  Vic.

0

69,560

69,560

Sub-total Victoria

74,300

977,851

1,052,151

SA River Murray SS 11 SA Murray SA

0

145,879

145,879

Sub-total South Australia

0

145,879

145,879

Total

616,815

2,543,609

3,160,424

1 Only the SDL areas for which information is available are included in the table.

2 The entitlement volumes shown in the table are a subset of line item 32.2 Surface water access entitlement for non-alloacted diversions. The same line item provides other information associated with the volumes shown in the table.

3 The entitlement volumes shown in the table are a subset of line item 32.3 Surface water access entitlement for allocated diversions. The same line item provides other information associated with the volumes shown in the table.

 

The tables include CEWH-managed 1,629,000 ML of water entitlements during the year, which has a long-term average yield of 1,190,000 ML per year (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2014b). They also include TLM-managed 988,000 ML of water entitlements during the year, which has a long-term average yield of 480,000 ML per year (Murray–Darling Basin Authority 2012a). Entitlement volumes shown in tables 13 and 14 reflect only those that have been recorded as being legally held (or under the administrative operations of the environmental water manager) at the time of compiling the 2013 Account. The volumes on issue of entitlements held for the environment are continually changing as more water is acquired under various programmes and when water is traded between valleys. In particular, the volumes held by the CEWH increases as more entitlements are being acquired. The volumes reported in tables 13 and 14 are probably an under-estimation of the volumes on issue at the end of the 2012–13 year, as not all water recovery transactions had been settled by the time information was collected for the 2013 Account.

Groundwater environmental entitlements

Following groundwater environmental entitlements for salinity and water table management have been reported for the 2012–13 year from New South Wales:

  • 1,500 ML in Billabong Creek Alluvium SDL area
  • 236 ML in Lachlan Fold Belt SDL area
  • 20,010 ML in Lower Murray Alluvium SDL area
  • 10,700 ML in Western Porous Rock SDL area.

 

Environmental water outcomes

Consolidated information on water released under entitlements held for the benefit of the environment was not available for the 2012–13 year. Available information on environmental water outcomes primarily on held environmental water categorisation is provided here.

New South Wales

Table 15 includes summarised information on environmental water use within New South Wales SDL areas during the 2012–13 year. The volume for the 2012–13 year is lower than the volume reported for the 2011–12 year.

 

Table 15  Summary of environmental water use within NSW sustainable diversion limit areas during the 2012–13 year
Sustainable diversion limit area

Use of environmental water allocation (ML)

Unregulated flow and supplementary entitlements

Regulated flow entitlements

NSW Border Rivers  0

269

Barwon–Darling Watercourse  0

0

NSW Intersecting Streams 0

0

Gwydir 10,123

37,951

Namoi  0 7,728
Macquarie–Castlereagh  0

137,718

Lachlan  0

66,283

Murrumbidgee  NSW 3,894

177,946

NSW Murray 16,237

48,422

Lower Darling 32,903

0

Total 63,157 476,317

Source of information: water audit monitoring data received from New South Wales (24 March 2014) and stored in the Murray–Darling Basin Authority HYDRO database.

The volumes shown in the table reflects releases made for environmental water needs under various environmental water allocation programmes. The volumes include use of allocations from supplementary entitlements. It is possible that the total volume delivered during the year could be higher than the volume shown in the above table due to data availability issues. Information on consumptive use out of the volumes shown in the table is not available.

Victoria

Information about environmental watering in Victoria is available in Victorian environmental water holder's watering update. Table 16 includes summarised information on environmental water use within Victorian SDL areas during the 2012–13 year. The volume for the 2012–13 year is slightly lower than the volume reported for the 2011–12 year.

 

Table 16  Summary of environmental water use within Victoria sustainable diversion limit areas during the 2012–13 year
Sustainable diversion limit area

Use of environmental water allocation1 (ML)

Regulated flow entitlements

Supplementary entitlements

Ovens 20  
Broken 41,230  
Goulburn 255,427  
Campaspe 16,887  
Loddon 10,680  
Vic. Murray 4,562 17,119
Wimmera–Mallee 30,890  
Total

359,696

17,119

1 Allocation use includes environmental water used in the water source and water diverted from the water source. 

Source of information: Victorian Environmental Water Holder (2014), and water audit monitoring data received from Victoria (14 February 2014) and stored in the Murray–Darling Basin Authority HYDRO database.The volumes include use of allocations from supplementary entitlements. It is possible that the total volume delivered during the year could be higher than the volume shown in the above table due to data availability issues.

 

South Australia

Environmental water management for South Australia was undertaken by the staff from the Department for Water until abolition and then the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Table 17 includes summarised information on environmental water use in South Australia (within MDB) during the 2012–13 year.  The areas benefitting from water allocated under Commonwealth environmental water holdings include Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth.

 

 
Table 17  Summary of environmental water use within South Australia sustainable diversion limit areas during the 2012–13 year
Description

Allocation use1 (ML)

Volume diverted from the water source (ML)

The Living Murray (TLM) program 198,356 135
Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) 877,665 54
Other 14,000 0
Total 1,090,021 189
1 Allocation use includes environmental water used in the water source and water diverted from the water source.

Source of information: water audit monitoring data received from South Australia (17 March 2014) and stored in the Murray–Darling Basin Authority HYDRO database. It is possible that the total volume delivered during the year could be higher than the volume shown in the above table due to data availability issues.

Queensland

A summary of information about environmental watering in Queensland can be obtained from the 2012–13 annual report for Queensland's WRPs produced by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. A full copy of the annual report is available on request by emailing WRPWebCoordinator@dnrm.qld.gov.au. Information on the environmental water held by the Commonwealth in Queensland is available from the website. Table 18 summarises information on environmental water use in SDL areas within Queensland during the 2012–13 year. The volume for the 2012–13 year is higher than the volume reported for the 2011–12 year.

 

Table 18  Summary of environmental water use within Queensland sustainable diversion limit areas during the 2012–13 year
Sustainable diversion limit area

Regulated environmental water use (ML)

Use of unregulated environmental water allocation (ML)

Total use (ML)

Warrego  0 0 0
Nebine  0 0 0
Condamine–Balonne 0 64,946 64,946
Moonie  0 1,415 1,415
Qld Border Rivers  626 1,664 2,290
Total 626 68,025 68,651

Source of information: water audit monitoring data received from Queensland (5 February 2014) and stored in the Murray–Darling Basin Authority HYDRO database. It is possible that the total volume delivered during the year could be higher than the volume shown in the above table due to data availability issues.

 

As indicated in the Queensland WAM data sources, the volumes provided in the table were considered as non-consumptive uses. In addition to environmental water uses provided in the table, there are the other environmental flow provisions which are primarily rule based in Queensland WRP areas. For these provisions, delivered volume is not available.

Australian Capital Territory

No annual report is published by the Australian Capital Territory Government on environmental watering activities.

Commonwealth

The CEWH has delivered 1,272,000 ML of environmental water to environmental assets across the region during the 2012–13 year. Commonwealth environmental water was used for the first time in a number of locations, including the Namoi River, the Mallowa wetlands in the Gwydir catchment, Whirlpool Corner, Disher Creek and Berri Basin in South Australia, Tuppal and Gwynnes Creeks of the Edward–Wakool catchment, and wetland areas of the western lower Murrumbidgee floodplain near Balranald (Australian Government Department of the Environment 2014b).

Under the Living Murray program, a total of 296,953 ML of water was delivered to Murray River icon sites excluding Gunbower–Koondrook–Perricoota Forests and Hattah Lakes during the 2012–13 year up to April 2013 (Murray–Darling Basin Authority 2014b). This volume is included in the environmental water delivery volumes cited for the States.