Allocations & availability
Based on water sharing plans, the department ensures the available surface and groundwater resources are shared equitably, and that water entitlements and allocations are secure and tradeable.
The volume of water licensed users can access is known as an available water determination (or water allocation). Allocations vary from year to year based on an individual entitlement. This is dependent on a range of factors including dam storage levels, river flows and catchment conditions.
Water sharing plans are developed by the department in consultation with the community determine how much water can be extracted over the long-term and how much needs to be set aside for the environment.
The department continues to progress major reforms driven by commitments made under the National Water Initiative which recognised the need for a standardised, cohesive and comparable approach for water resource accounting, reporting and data systems.
Outlook & forecasts
Read about how our yearly forecasting and outlook report for the southern basins.
Droughts & floods
Did you know severe drought affects some parts of Australia once every 18 years? Did you know we have a network of over 700 telemetered water monitoring sites? Read about how we manage water resources during extreme events.
New water access licences may be made available from time to time through a process known as ‘controlled allocations’. This process usually only applies to aquifer access licences and in specific groundwater sources.