State and Territory rules

States and Territories are responsible for determining water trading rules in their jurisdiction. Please refer to the relevant State or Territory agency for the latest water management and trading rules information. This page provides a general outline of the legislation, regulations and water resource plans and links to the sites where water trading rules can be found for each jurisdiction. It also provides links to the irrigation infrastructure operator rules and policies.

Generally the State/Territory legislation establishes the legal framework for the following functions:

  • water management planning, including the creation of water resource plans
  • water management implementation
  • joint private works, including irrigation corporations, private irrigation districts, private drainage boards and private water trusts
  • public works, including flood mitigation works, irrigation works
  • public utilities and water supply authorities
  • enforcement.

Many State/Territory rules and regulations regarding management of water resources, rights and trading are covered in water resource plans.

Water resource plans generally provide the following functions for specific water resource plan areas:

  • assess the water availability
  • establish the consumptive and environmental pool of water
  • establish rules for granting water rights, allocations and trades
  • determine water allocations
  • manage water account rules, e.g. carryover
  • monitor and evaluate effectiveness of water management.

States and Territories may also have State/Territory-wide regulations governing water resources, rights and trading.

The table below summarises the sources of water trading rules in each of the States and Territories. For further information click the links below or seek advice from your local water authorities.

Sources of State/Territory rules
Jurisdiction Legislative acts Water resource plans State/Territory-wide regulations

Water Management Act 2000 

Water Management Amendment Act 2010 

Water Management Amendment Act 2008 

Water Act 1912 

Water sharing plans for NSW

Note: See the section entitled 'Access Licence Dealing Rules' in your local water sharing plan.

Access Licence Dealing Principles Order 2004 

Note: This piece of legislation specifies the Statewide water trading rules in place in NSW.

Vic Water Act 1989

Goulburn-Murray Water groundwater management plans 

Goulburn-Murray Water streamflow management plans 

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water groundwater information 

Southern Rural Water groundwater management plans 

Southern Rural Water surface water 

Melbourne Water streamflow management plans 

Note: Water trading rules specific to particular water management areas are specified in some of Victoria's water management plans.

See also Victoria's Bulk Entitlements register 

Water trading rules
Note: This piece of legislation specifies the State-wide water trading rules in place in Victoria.

Qld Water Act 2000

Water resource planning 
Note: See the section entitled ‘Water allocation change rules' in your local water resource plan.

SA Natural Resources Management Act 2004

Note: Section 150 of this Act specifies rules for the transfer of water licences.

NRM Boards produce water allocation plans for the following areas:

Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board  for Barossa, Adelaide Plains, McLaren Vale, Western Mount Lofty

Eyre Peninsula Board  for Southern Basins & Musgrave

SA Murray Darling Basin NRM Board  for Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges, Mallee, Noora, Peake, Roby Sherlock, River Murray, Marne Saunders

South East NRM Board  for Padthaway, Lower Limestone Coast, Tatiara, Tintinara, Morambro Creek

Northern & Yorke NRM Board  for Clare, Baroota

South Australian Arid Lands NRM Board  for Far North region

Note: See the section entitled ‘Transfer rules’ in your local water allocation plan.

Natural Resources Management Act 2004  and subordinate regulations

Irrigation Act 2009 

Renmark Irrigation Trust Act 2009 

WA Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914 

Water Allocation Plans  

Rights in Water and Irrigation Regulations 2000 


Water Management Act 1999 

Irrigation Clauses Act 1973 

Water Management Plans 
Note: Water trading rules specific to a water management area are specified in some of Tasmania's water management plans.

NT Water Act 2009 

Alice Springs Water strategy 

Ti Tree Water Allocation Plan 

Katherine Tindall Water Allocation Plan 

Western Davenport Water Allocation Plan 

ACT Note: Section 26 of this Act specifies rules for the transfer of water access entitlements. Nil

Irrigation infrastructure operator specific rules and policies

Irrigation infrastructure operators may also have separate water trading policies and rules relevant to their districts. Links to the policies and rules of the major IIOs in each jurisdiction are provided on this page where they are available on the IIOs website.

The table below outlines some of the irrigation infrastructure operator rules and policies in place for water trading.

IIO rules/policies
Jurisdiction Organisation IIO/water utility specific rules and policies
Murray Irrigation
Western Murray Irrigation
Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited
Coleambally Irrigation Cooperative Limited
Vic Goulburn-Murray Water
Southern Rural Water
Lower Murray Water
Qld SunWater
SA Central Irrigation Trust
WA Harvey Water
Ord Irrigation