Water words

Below are the definitions of some commonly used water trading terms which are used throughout this website. These definitions are consistent with definitions in the National Water Initiative and the Water Act 2007. In some instances the definitions have been broadened to apply to all jurisdictions.

Use of consistent terminology is critical in presenting clear and meaningful water market information. This site endeavors to use nationally applicable terminology where possible, however, state and territory specific terms have been used to reflect information specific to a particular jurisdiction.

Allocation
Has the same meaning as 'water allocation'
Allocation volume
The specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements.
Available water
Water potentially available for consumptive or environmental use.
Bulk water
Water supplied by a water provider to another water provider.
Bulk water access entitlement
A water access entitlement allowing an infrastructure operator to access, take and hold water for the supply of water to another person.
Bundled right
The aggregation of individual rights into a single right. These might include, but are not limited to, land property title, water access entitlement, water allocations, water use rights, delivery rights, irrigation rights and works approvals.
Carryover
The option to hold in storage a portion of unused seasonal allocations for use at a later date.
Catchment area
A drainage area, especially of a reservoir or river.
Consumptive pool
The amount of a water resource that can be made available for consumptive use in a particular water resource plan area under the rules of the water resource plan for that water resource plan area.
 
Source: Water Act 2007
Consumptive use
Use of water for private benefit consumptive purposes including irrigation, industry, urban and stock and domestic use.
External trade
A transaction to transfer a water right from one legal entity to another out of a specified area. The area can be a water system, water management area or a trading zone as defined in respective state and territory legislation.
Gigalitre (GL)
One billion litres
Gross water price
The transfer price of water as agreed between legal entities inclusive of all applicable transaction costs.
Groundwater

Groundwater means:

  1. water occurring naturally below ground level (whether in an aquifer or otherwise), or
  2. water occurring at a place below ground that has been pumped, diverted or released to that place for the purpose of being stored there
but does not include water held in underground tanks, pipes or other works.
 
Source:Water Act 2007
IIO
See Irrigation infrastructure operator
Inflows
Surface water runoff and deep drainage to groundwater (groundwater recharge) and transfers into the water system (both surface and groundwater), for a defined area.
Internal trade
A transaction to transfer a water right from one legal entity to another within a specified area. The area can be a trading zone, an irrigation district or a water resource plan area as defined in respective state and territory legislation.
Interstate trade
A transaction to transfer a water right from one legal entity to another between different states or territories.
Intrastate trade
A transaction to transfer a water right from one legal entity to another within the same state or territory.
Irrigation infrastructure operator (IIO)
The IIO is an entity that operates water service infrastructure for the purposes of delivering water for the primary purpose of being used for irrigation.
 
Source: Adapted from Water Act 2007
Megalitre (ML)
One million litres
National Water Initiative (NWI)
The Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (as amended from time to time).

Source: Water Act 2007
Net water price
The transfer price of water as agreed between legal entities exclusive of all applicable transaction costs.
NWI
See National Water Initiative
Permanent trade
See Water access entitlement trade

In accordance with the National Water Initiative there is a movement towards the use of nationally consistent terminology; water access entitlement trade is used in preference to permanent trade.
Product
See Water product
Regulated water resource
A water resource which has its flows controlled through the use of infrastructure to store and release water.
Reliability
The frequency with which water allocated under a water access entitlement is able to be supplied in full.
 
Source: Schedule B(ii) NWI
Rural water utility
An organisation that supplies water for irrigation, town and community use in a rural area.
Surface water

Surface water includes:

  1. water in a watercourse, lake or wetland, and
  2. any water flowing over or lying on land:
    1. after having precipitated naturally, or
    2. after having risen to the surface naturally from underground.

Source: Water Act 2007

Temporary trade
See Water Allocation Trade

In accordance with the National Water Initiative there is a movement towards the use of nationally consistent water terminology; water allocation trade is used in preference to temporary trade.
Tradeable water rights

Tradeable water rights means

  1. water access rights
  2. water delivery rights, or
  3. irrigation rights.

Source: Water Act 2007

Note: Some components within water access rights are not tradeable.

Trading zone
Zones established to simplify administration of a trade by setting out the known supply source or management arrangements and the physical realities of relevant supply systems within the zone.
 
Source: Adapted from Schedule B(i) NWI
Transaction costs
Includes search, negotiation and enforcement costs including, but not limited to, all government water transfer fees and charges applicable to water trade, conveyance charges and professional service fees (such as accountants, brokers, lawyers).
Unbundled right

An unbundled right is the separation of a 'bundled' right into its individual elements. At its most basic level, unbundling separates water rights from a land property title, allowing the trade of the water rights independently of land.

Additional degrees of unbundling involve the separation of a water right into its individual elements. These might include, but are not limited to, water access entitlements, water allocations, water use rights, delivery rights and works approvals.

Unbundling
The separating of historic water entitlements which bundled water, land, water use, delivery and works approvals, into separate entitlements or licences.
Unregulated water resource
A water resource that is not controlled through the use of infrastructure to store and release water.
Volume weighted average price (VWAP)
The average value (dollars per megalitre) of the water traded where each trade is weighted proportionally by the volume of water (in ML) involved in the sale. This provides a more accurate representation of the price (i.e. high volume trades generally attract a 'bulk discount').
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.
 
Source: Schedule B(ii) NWI
Water access entitlement trade
A transaction to transfer a water access entitlement from one legal entity to another, with or without a change in location, perpetually or for a specified term (i.e. lease).
 
Source: Adapted from NWC water markets report 2008-2009
Water access entitlement type
Water right types as defined in state and territory legislation which includes bundled and unbundled water rights, and bulk water access entitlements.
Water access entitlement volume
The share, nominal volume, or extraction rate associated with a water access entitlement.
Water access entitlements on issue
This represents the total quantity of water access entitlements granted by state and territory government water agencies which are in effect at a given point in time.
Water access right

Water access right:

  1. means any right conferred by or under a law of a State to do either or both of the following:
    1. to hold water from a water resource
    2. to take water from a water resource, and
  2. without limiting paragraph (a), includes the following rights of the kind referred to in that paragraph:
    1. stock and domestic rights
    2. riparian rights
    3. a water access entitlement
    4. a water allocation, and
  3. includes any other right in relation to the taking or use of water that is prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of the paragraph.

Source: Water Act 2007

Water allocation
The specific volume of water allocated to water access entitlements in a given water year or allocated as specified within a water resource plan.
 
Source: Adapted from Water Act 2007
Water allocation trade
A transaction to transfer a water allocation from one legal entity to another, with or without a change in location, for the remaining water year (by default) or for a specified term that may be less than the end of the water year or carried over to subsequent years (i.e. lease).
 
Source: Adapted from NWC water markets report 2008-2009
Water delivery right

A right to have water delivered by an infrastructure operator.

Source: Water Act 2007

Water lease
A transaction to transfer a water right from one legal entity to another, in whole or in part, for a specified period of time which involves an exchange of a monetary value.
Water plan
Statutory plans for surface and/or ground water systems, consistent with the Regional Natural Resource Management Plans, developed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders on the basis of best scientific and socio-economic assessment, to provide secure ecological outcomes and resource security for users.
Water product
A water product is a water right that is tradeable, falling under the broad category of either water access entitlement or water allocation. A product may be bundled or unbundled and has various attributes such as water resource type (e.g. surface water, groundwater, regulated, unregulated) and reliability type (e.g. high, low priority).
Water provider
A business or organisation that provides a reticulated water supply, irrigation water, reused or recycled water, or a bulk water supply service. Water providers may be government or private and often operate water storage, purification and supply services. They may also provide sewerage or drainage services.
Water resource

Water resource means:

  1. surface water or ground water, or
  2. a watercourse, lake, wetland or aquifer (whether or not it currently has water in it)
    and includes all aspects of the water resource (including water, organisms and other components and ecosystems that contribute to the physical state and environmental value of the water resource).

Source: Water Act 2007

Water resource plan
A plan for the management of a water resource.
Water resource plan area
Water resource area defined in a water resource plan.
Water resource type
Describes the attributes of a water resource, e.g. surface or groundwater; regulated or unregulated water.
Water right
A generic term for the range of different tradeable and non-tradeable water rights across Australia. These might include, but are not limited to, water access entitlements, water allocations, water use rights, delivery rights, irrigation rights and works approvals.
Water system
A system that is hydrologically connected and described at the level desired for management purposes (e.g. sub-catchment, catchment, basin or drainage division and/or groundwater management unit, sub-aquifer, aquifer, groundwater basin).
 
Source: Schedule B(i) NWI
Water tagging
An accounting approach that allows a traded water access entitlement to retain its original characteristics when traded to a new jurisdiction and/or trading zone, rather than being converted into a form issued in the new jurisdiction and/or trading zone.
 
Source: Schedule B(i) NWI
Water trade price
Water price or trade price has the same meaning as 'net water price'.
Water trade
A transaction to buy, sell or lease a water right, in whole or in part, from one legal entity to another which involves an exchange of a monetary value.
Water year
1 July to 30 June