What is a spillable water account?

Spillable water is any carryover or allocations above your water share volume.

A spillable water account is a feature of your allocation account (ABA) linked to your water share.

As part of your allocation account recorded on the Victorian Water Register, it keeps track of any water that can be lost if the dam spills.

Once your full water share volume is reached, any further allocation increases are recorded in your allocation account, but this water is set aside as spillable.

You cannot use or trade any water in your spillable account until after the Resource Manager makes a low-risk-of-spill declaration.

Spillable water accounts allow you to use extra dam space when it's not needed to support other entitlements.

When the dams are full, spillable water has to make way for inflows to support new allocations to all water shares.

Why can't I use my spillable water before a declaration?

To make sure that it is always possible to keep track of the water that needs to spill when inflows come into the dam, you cannot use or trade your spillable water.

Keeping track of the water that needs to spill while allowing use would require daily metering of all entitlement holders' water use.

This would also have to be recorded daily in the Victorian Water Register so that any spilled water was shared fairly among entitlement holders' accounts.

The technology to support this is not currently available for all entitlement holders.

Having to own water share volume to secure access reinforces the importance and value of these entitlements.

What problem is the new Murray spill rule trying to fix?

When water users carry over water it is kept in the dams for the new season.

When new inflows come in, this extra water kept in storage has to make way when the dam space is needed.

New inflows are what supports allocations to everyone's water shares. If new inflows spill because of water that has been carried over, then allocations are affected.

The Dartmouth spill rule has not worked well in the recent wetter years.

Water carried over has contributed to spills of new inflows from Hume Dam, and this has affected allocations.

The new Hume-based spill rule will protect new allocations to existing water shares.

How are Hume and Dartmouth Dams used?

Victoria has a half share of the capacity of Lake Hume and Lake Dartmouth. New South Wales controls the other half of these dams.

Victoria can store its share of inflows in Victoria's half of these storages.

Water is released first from Hume Dam to meet Victoria's commitments through the season.

Water is released from Dartmouth when it's needed to supplement supplies from Hume. Generally, Dartmouth is used as a reserve storage that supports supplies in dry years.

So while the level of Hume can rise and fall greatly each year, Dartmouth can stay full for many years until it's drawn down in dry years. Dartmouth can take several years to recover after it is drawn down, as we saw recently.

This document shows modelled monthly storage levels and spills from Victoria's shares of Hume and Dartmouth over the last 23 years, with discussion of how the new Hume-based spill rule would have worked through that period.

pdfDownload PDF Hume and Dartmouth behaviour 1989 to 2012 (PDF - 60 Kb)

Where can I find more information about the new controls on trade?

Further explanation of the new controls on allocation trade, including a number of questions and answers is available in the document below

pdfDownload PDF Victoria refines controls on allocation trade between valleys (PDF - 92 Kb)

Where can I buy and sell allocation now?

You can track the trade opportunities available from this website here.

Select your trading zones to see any limits that currently apply on trade in from other zones.

More detail on how these limits are determined can be found under the heading Click here for the data that leads to the limits above.

How does carryover affect people trading water shares?

If you plan to buy a Murray, Goulburn or Campaspe water share or enter into a limited term transfer of a water share it is important to factor in how the carryover recorded against it can affect:

  • allocations to that water share in the current season, or
  • fees levied against that water share in the current season, like charges for storing more than your entitlement volume.

The document below provides information for water share buyers to consider.

pdfDownload PDF Information for buyers on carryover recorded against water shares - updated October 2013 (PDF - 901 Kb)

Any volume of carryover recorded against a water share in the current season is displayed on the Copy of Record you can download from the Victorian Water Register website..

The Copy of Record also displays the amount of water stored above the volume of that water share.  This amount may incur above entitlement storage fees.

Above entitlement storage fees are charged to the owner of a water share.

Unlike the fixed entitlement storage fees, these charges may not be raised until late in the season. So, if this water share is transferred, then the buyer may be responsible for paying these charges later in the current season.

It is important to know that if you buy a water share before the above entitlement storage fees are raised, you will be liable for any above entitlement storage charges issued later in the year for that water share.

Charges apply for each megalitre of carryover or allocation stored above your water share volume.

There is no charge for any water lost from a spillable water account if a dam spills.

The charges for each basin are available in the pricing plans of the rural water corporations Goulburn-Murray Water and Lower Murray Water.

Buyers also need to know if further allocation increases made to the water share will go directly into the available balance of the allocation account, or will be quarantined in the spillable water account until a low-risk-of-spill declaration is made.

When do the changes from the carryover review come into effect?

The new limits on trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon are now in effect.

The limits on trade into the Victorian Murray from NSW come into effect on 10 January 2013.

You will be able to apply to relinquish unused allocation from April 2013.

The new limit on how much can be carried over will apply on the Goulburn and Campaspe systems to any unused in your account on 30 June 2013 at the end of this season.

On the Murray, this limit will now come into effect for any unused in your account on 30 June 2014, following the recent announcement by the Minister.

All other changes will come into effect from 1 July 2013, including

  • The new Murray spill rule
  • The changes to the charges for storing more than your entitlement volume.
  • The changes to the Goulburn and Murray system early reserve policies.

The document below summarises when each of the changes from the carryover review come into effect.

pdfDownload PDF When the changes from the carryover review come into effect (PDF - 59 Kb)

What are some of the trade-offs involved in carryover decisions?

Carryover, like water trading, provides entitlement holders with more opportunities to manage their own water water availability.

People will use carryover and trade differently to best meet the needs of their enterprise.

The paper below discusses some of the factors to consider in making carryover decisions. It uses some simple case studies to illustrate some of the financial costs and benefits of decisions to carry over or trade unused allocation in different scenarios.

pdfDownload PDF Understanding the trade-offs associated with carryover decisions (PDF - 307 Kb)