Surface water entitlements

Entitlements are generally required for the major surface water uses—irrigation, urban and commercial and industrial uses in all states and territories.

Surface water uses that generally do not currently require entitlements in most of Australia are: use for on farm stock and domestic purposes, forestry (reduction in yield), floodplain harvesting, drought supply, greywater use, effluent recycling, and aquifer storage and recovery. These are detailed in the table below. Additionally, water for the mining, oil and gas extraction industries is a major component of surface water diversions in some surface water management areas in Australia ; however, these diversions do not require an entitlement in many jurisdictions.

Farm dams (minor catchment, on-stream and extracted storages) have been the focus of considerable research and policy reform in recent years. While the use from farm dams and their impact on surface water resources has historically been ignored, it is becoming an increasingly important issue across Australia , particularly for unregulated catchments.

In Victoria , for example, farm dams for irrigation and commercial purposes require entitlements, but stock and domestic farm dams do not. Western Australia has started to investigate the impact of farm dams in the south-west of the state. South Australia has investigated farm dams in all of its prescribed areas and has undertaken detailed investigations of farm dam impacts in the Eastern and Western Mt Lofty Ranges as part of the notice of intent to prescribe these areas. Entitlements are not required for stock and domestic use in most of South Australia .

Surface water usage that is not licensed (does NOT require an entitlement)

Number of surface water management areas where usage is not licensed State or territory
ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA National
Irrigation 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 13
Urban 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 13 15
Commercial, industrial 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 13
Minor catchment storages 0 19 35 0 0 0 0 13 67
Minor on-stream storages 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 13
Minor extracted water storages 0 19 32 0 0 0 0 13 64
Stock and domestic 1 0 39 61 4 46 0 44 195
Mining, oil and gas 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 13 18
Forestry 0 0 0 0 3 46 29 13 91
Floodplain harvesting 0 26 14 0 0 0 0 44 84
Drought supply 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 13 17
Greywater use 1 37 0 0 4 0 29 44 115
Effluent recycling 1 37 0 0 4 0 29 44 115
Aquifer storage and recovery 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 44 44
Other 0 42 0 0 4 0 0 2 48

Note:

  • Numbers reported indicate surface water management areas where the usage type does not require a license. In all other surface water management areas usage either requires a license or there are no surface water resources.
  • Non-riparian stock and domestic water use does require a licence in Tasmania

 

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Last Updated 22/06/2007