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Southern Rural Water is responsible for ensuring that people in southern Victoria with water licences or entitlements do not breach their licence conditions.

Good compliance comes from water users understanding their rights and obligations for taking and using water, and understanding how we monitor usage across our regions. This includes water sourced from a bore, dam, creek, stream, river or irrigation channel.

Making sure that all users are aware of what they need to do helps to:

  • protect the rights of all water entitlement holders
  • protect water-dependent natural ecosystems and river systems at risk, and
  • ensure that water use remains fair and sustainable, which protects the interests of communities.

In May 2020, the Victorian Government undertook a comprehensive independent review to ensure Victorian irrigators and water users have a robust compliance and enforcement system. The review found that Victoria has a strong track record and that most irrigators are already doing the right thing.

While compliance levels are relatively high, the review found that there were several areas to strengthen, to provide consistency and quick resolutions.

The target is to reduce water theft rates to less than 1 per cent of rural water volume. Under new regulations, water corporations, such as Southern Rural Water, can issue on-the-spot fines.

To help customers keep track of their water use, and not risk inadvertently going over their entitlement, we are continuing to roll out automated meter readers, and are rolling out access to online tools such as to provide visibility of your usage, currently available for irrigation district customers.

For more information about our Compliance and Enforcement Framework, click on the link below, or call 1300 139 510 to speak with our Customer Service team.

You can find out more about your water use rights and obligations by:

Taking and Using Water - compliance and enforcement

Compliance framework

We have a compliance framework that explains how we regulate and manage compliance, how customers can keep informed about their rights and obligations under their licence, and what steps we can take in the most serious cases or misuse or overuse.

For more detail: see the SRW Compliance Framework May 2020


How do I find out what my rights and obligations are for taking and using water?

Water users (and prospective users) can find out more about their rights and obligations on water use from the Victorian Water Register website ( and by contacting us.

Is water theft a problem in Southern Victoria?

Southern Victoria does not have a significant problem with water theft. Misuse can happen deliberately or inadvertently.

Each year a small number of offences occur, either through a licensed user taking more water than they are entitled to, or taking water outside of roster or restriction periods, constructing unauthorized works or deliberately tampering with a meter.

What should I do if I think someone else is doing the wrong thing?

We encourage anyone who suspects a breach of the Water Act 1989 to contact us.

Southern Rural Water acknowledges and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters on which we work and live, and we respect their deep and ongoing connection to Country. For more about the First Nations peoples on whose Country we work, click here.