A water share is an ongoing entitlement to a share of the water available in your water system. It gives you a right to a share of water in the dams.

Features of a water share include

  • its water system, such as the Goulburn, Murray or Macalister
  • its reliability, and
  • the volume, such as 100 megalitres (ML).

The volume of a water share is defined as the maximum amount of allocation that can be made against it each year.

Water shares and allocation

The water that is actually in the dam in any given year is allocated against water shares.

The seasonal allocation is the percentage of your water share volume available under current resource conditions, as determined by the resource manager. 

Your water share is linked to an allocation account (ABA) which keeps track of allocations available to your water share and any water that you use or trade.

For example, in a dry year a 50% allocation to your 100 ML water share gives you 50 ML of water available to use or trade. A 100% allocation means that you have your full water share volume available.

The resource manager announces allocations regularly through the irrigation season.


Water shares can be high or low-reliability.

Allocations are made to high-reliability water shares before low-reliability shares.


If carryover is allowed in your water system, it’s your water share that provides a right to a share of space in the dams and the right to carry over your unused allocation.

You can find out about the carryover rules that apply in each system here.

Water shares and land

You can buy and sell a water share separately from land.  Your water share does not have to stay with the property if you sell the land.

You don’t have to own land to hold a water share.

If you want to use water on land you need to have a  water-use licence.  You also need a delivery share to have water delivered to your land if you are in an irrigation district.


Your water share is a separate asset that can be mortgaged, just like your land.


There is a fixed annual charge to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the dams in your water system.

This charge is called an entitlement storage fee or water share fee and is based on the volume of your water share.

Storage charges for each water system are available in the pricing plans of Goulburn-Murray Water , Lower Murray Water or Southern Rural Water.

Entitlement holders may also pay above entitlement storage fees in northern Victoria, where carryover rules allow them to store allocation above their water share volume.

Copy of record

You can download a copy of record to get the full details of any water share from the Water Register here.

You will need to enter the water share identification number and pay the relevant $15.30 fee.

Details on a copy of record include the water share’s volume, water system source, reliability, owners, trading zone, delivery system and any allocation or carryover against the water share. 

A sample copy of record is available below.

pdfDownload PDF Sample water share copy of record (PDF - 78 Kb)

The copy of record also includes a description of any linked land and any recorded interests like a mortgage or limited term transfer.

Reports and prices

The Water Register reports on how many water shares there are in a water system here and on prices paid for water share trade.