Measure and monitor all the water we take from rivers and aquifers

The Problem

Not all water use is measured or accounted for in southern Victoria. Large water users
such as water corporations and big irrigators have their take metered, but many smaller users do not.

Less than half the volume of entitlements to take water from rivers and creeks for non-urban use is
metered. Water for stock and domestic use is not measured at all and the number and use of small
catchment dams is often underestimated. There could be thousands of water users in every river basin
whose take is unaccounted for.

This situation is inequitable and damaging to rivers and aquifers. Victorian government metering policy
states that ‘Water measurement is essential to account for the distribution and use of water. It supports
planning and allocation decisions and enables compliance with water resource management laws and
initiatives’ in particular caps on extraction that protect the environment. Much of the unmeasured use is
in upper catchments which deprives rivers of flow and downstream users of a fair share of the available
water. The lack of information makes accurate accounting impossible.

The solution

To ensure equity and fairness between users and to protect the environment, we call on
the next Victorian government to:

    • Bring all categories of take into the licensing framework. Stock and domestic bores and dams
      should be included so they can be measured, accounted for and managed.
    • Remove exemptions from metering for small water users. A ‘no meter, no pump’ condition
      should be included in all water use licenses to enable accurate accounting.
    • Overhaul and expand water information and knowledge infrastructure. Monitoring systems
      should be reviewed so we can know whether our groundwater and surface water use is
      sustainable and the condition of our ecological assets. There should be publicly available data on
      all licensed water diversions and rights, and real time monitoring of extraction by urban water
    • Improve compliance with and enforcement of licence conditions. Compliance and enforcement
      is the responsibility of water corporations who are under-resourced and data poor to perform
      this function. Independent oversight with improved remote sensing and more resources is

The Concerned Waterways Alliance is a network of community groups from across southern Victoria
from Gippsland to the Otways, united in our desire to see our rivers functioning as they should, as whole
living entities, resilient and flourishing in the face of climate change.
Authorised by: The Waterways Network, 1a Foam St, Merricks Beach, VIC 3926