Unregulated waterways are streams or rivers where the flow is not interrupted by dams or weirs, and the volume of water available for diversion is based entirely on rainfall and runoff.

Accessing water for irrigation from unregulated waterways in Victoria requires a take and use licence, and may require a works licence.

Determining what is a waterway can be difficult, but is important because it has implications for licensing requirements. All dams on waterways require a section 67 works licence (except in some cases where an exemption order applies). A ‘waterway’ is defined in the Water Act 1989. The Minister for Water has endorsed guidelines to promote the consistent application of the definition.

Copies of records for an existing groundwater or unregulated waterway take-and-use licence, or works licence can be obtained from here.

Restrictions on entitlement

Surface water resources may be restricted by orders made by the Minister for Water. Permissible Consumptive Volumes (PCVs) cap the total volume of licensed entitlement in a river basin. To view the orders that the Minister has issued, search for PCV at delwp.vic.gov.au for the most recent information.