To ensure that water resources can be managed as a whole, the National Water
Initiative (NWI) requires that consumptive uses' (use of water for private
benefit consumptive purposes including irrigation, industry urban, and stock
and domestic use) have a water access entitlement' (a perpetual or ongoing
entitlement to exclusive access to a share of water from a specified consumptive
pool as defined in the relevant water plan).
This assessment examines the extent of water extractions and uses within Australia
that are currently governed by water entitlements.
A common use of water entitlements is for irrigation
Image by Arthur Mostead, sourced from the MDBC
The states and territories have indicated which surface water or groundwater
uses in the surface water management area or groundwater management unit do
not require an entitlement. This is useful for highlighting the types of use
that are unlikely to be covered by current management plans, caps or metering
It is considered that the types of water diversion and extraction that do
not require an entitlement are likely to have little (if any) information available
about them and further investigation may be needed to determine their potential
impacts on water management.
The level of entitlements in each state and territory is an integral product
of further AWR 2005 assessments that will be released in coming months.
Water entitlements are discussed in more detail in the following sections: