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Barwon Downs

Barwon Downs

Licence renewal application under Section 58

The s58 application:

Southern Rural Water (SRW) assesses licences for extraction of groundwater in southern Victoria, in accordance with the Water Act 1989, taking into consideration relevant policies and community and stakeholder expectations, in order to ensure groundwater resources are managed in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Barwon Water has a current licence for extraction at Barwon Downs in the Gerangamete Groundwater Management Area, which expires in July 2019.

Barwon Water has now submitted an application under Section 58 (s58) of the Water Act 1989 for the renewal of its licence to extract groundwater from the Barwon Downs borefield.

The application details volumetric requirements as well as monitoring activities, proposed licence conditions and other supporting activities.  Barwon Water is seeking 12,000 megalitres (ML) per year, and a maximum of 60,000ML over 15 years.

Barwon Water is currently operating under a s78 Ministerial Direction notice, issued by SRW in September 2018, that requires it to develop and implement a legally enforceable plan for the remediation of the Big Swamp, Boundary Creek and environment, which restricts Barwon Water from any groundwater extraction, except for maintenance purposes, while the notice is in place. (See information below and links for more information on this notice.)

The s58 application process:

  1. Submissions: submissions to the application are now open to the public and will remain open until 4pm Friday 1 March 2019. Anyone can make a submission, either using the forms available from the links on the right, or in a separate document. Submissions can be made in a number of ways:
  2. Consultation:
    • SRW has established a Barwon Downs Licence Community Reference Group to assist it with community and stakeholder consultation regarding the licence renewal application. The Community Reference Group comprises community members, landholders, interest groups, local government, Traditional Owners and other stakeholders. The CRG will be independently chaired.
    • SRW has appointed an independent Technical Review Panel of experts with the specialist knowledge and skills to assist the technical review of the application, reports and technical information associated with the application and with submissions to the application.
    • SRW will also hold community open house information sessions at different stages to explain the process and allow members of the community to provide input and ask questions regarding the application and submission period. The first will be held in February and will be advertised here and in local newspapers.
  3. Independent hearing:
    • If any submissions are received, those who have made the submissions will be invited to speak to their submission at an independent hearing.
  4. The decision:
    • Southern Rural Water will review the application, submissions and all available inputs and information and will make its determination. Any appeal to the decision must be made within the 28 days after the decision.
  5. The timeline:
    • Given the Christmas-New Year holiday period, Southern Rural Water has allowed for an extended submission period. It is also intending to call the CRG together for its first meeting in Feb 2019 (TBC) to explain its role, the process and commence consultation on the application.

For further enquiries, please contact the SRW Barwon Downs Licence Renewal project team on:

Remediation plan direction notice under Section 78

On 11 September 2018, Southern Rural Water, as the Minister for Water’s delegate, issued Barwon Water a direction notice under Section 78 of the Water Act 1989  to submit and implement a legally enforceable remediation plan for the Boundary Creek and Big Swamp environment.

The process around Barwon Water’s response to the s78 notice is independent of the s58 licence renewal application.

Barwon Water has submitted its remediation Scope of Works on 20 December 2018, the deadline required under the s78 notice. See the blue panel (top right) for a link to the scope on Barwon Water’s website. 

SRW and its Technical Review panel is now considering the Scope of Works to provide feedback to Barwon Water.

For more detail, see the s78 notice and Frequently Asked Questions on Barwon Water’s website.

Barwon Downs licence application

Barwon Downs submission form

Community reference group portal

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WaterMatch - online trading

Watermatch is a free online service, designed to help people trade water.

Once you have registered, you can advertise to buy or sell water.

Depending on the water that you wish to trade, choose from the Groundwater, Surface Water (rivers and creeks) and Irrigation District forum.

Select a new topic to create your ad. Your ad can be to buy or sell water, and must describe the source of your water, quantity of water you want to buy or sell, how long you want to trade for and your contact details. If you are happy to put a buying or selling price, this can be included here too.

If you want to respond to an ad, you can use the email link or contact the advertiser direct.

It is an online trading forum, and can also be used by people who are not on the internet, with help from our staff.

Watermatch allows you to register your interest in either buying or selling water in southern Victoria.

  • the Macalister, Werribee and Bacchus Marsh Irrigation District
  • Groundwater systems in southern Victoria
  • Rivers and creek systems in southern Victoria (other than those managed by Melbourne Water around the Port Phillip region).

Who can use it?
Anyone can use watermatch. You may be an existing licence holder who wants to sell water, or buy more water.

You may not currently have a licence, but you want to buy water in the region.

How does it work?

  • click here to enter Watermatch
  • register as a user (a very simple process)
  • go to the system or district you are interested in and check current entries
  • add in any entry for any water you want to sell or buy

What information should I include in my ad?

  • If you are wanting to buy or sell
  • your name
  • phone number
  • name of river, creek, groundwater management area or irrigation district
  • how much water is to be traded
  • If the trade is temporary or permanent
  • term of the trade (Maximum term is 5 years)

Things you need to know
We are always looking for ways to improve our customer service. If you would like to provide feedack or suggested improvements please click here.

it's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Trading applications must be submitted to Southern Rural Water and approval granted before water is taken. A water transfer application form can be downloaded from our application page.

If you want to trade upstream, please speak with one of our Assessment Officers prior to submitting an application.

To check if a buyer or seller can trade with you, call us on 1300 139 510 and ask to speak to an Assessment Officer.

Not a water broker

It's important to note that Southern Rural Water is not acting, and will not act, as a water broker.

We cannot advise you on price of water or match you individually with a buyer/seller.

Buyers and sellers still need to go through our normal application process.

Click here to download our Fact Sheet