Border Groundwaters Agreement – South Australia-Victoria

Along the South Australian-Victoria border, groundwater is the only reliable water source and there is increasing demand for the use of this resource. It is used for irrigation and for industrial, stock and domestic supplies. Many towns close to the border also rely on groundwater for their public water supply.

The resource is shared between both states and in recognition of the need to cooperatively manage these resources the two states entered into the Border Groundwaters Agreement (the Agreement) in 1985. The Agreement was updated in 2005.

The Agreement provides that the available groundwater shall be shared equitably between the two states and applies to all existing and future bores. Bores that extract groundwater for domestic and stock purposes are not covered by the Agreement.

Designated area

The Agreement covers an area that extends 20 kilometres either side of the border from the coast to the River Murray. This area is known as the Designated Area and is divided into 22 management zones with 11 Zones in each state.

Licensing

The actual allocation of water is the responsibility of the licensing authorities in each state in accordance with the relevant groundwater management plan or water allocation plan prepared under the respective states' legislation.

The Agreement sets out:
  • the annual volume of groundwater allocation from each aquifer for each zone 
  • the distance from the border for each aquifer within a zone where an application for a water licence or a permit to drill a bore must be referred to Border Groundwaters Agreement Review Committee for approval  
  • the rate of groundwater level lowering.

Legislation 

Water Allocation Plans (South Australia) and Water Management Plans (Victoria) prepared under the State Legislation must be consistent with the terms of the Groundwater (Border Agreement) Act 1985 for both South Australia and Victoria.

Contact Us

South Australia

Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001 
Phone: (08) 8463 6800 
Email: DEWNR.CustomerServiceCentre@sa.gov.au

Victoria 

Department of Environment and Primary Industries 
PO Box 500 
East Melbourne VIC 3002 
Phone: 136 186

More information
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