Topics > Water > Water resources

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 pided into 22 management zones with 11 Zones in each state.


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.

Find out more about the Agreement’s licensing arrangements.


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.

The Natural Resources Management Act 2004 (South Australia) and Water Act 1989 (Victoria) are also subject to the Agreement.

Contact Us

South Australia

Department for Environment and Water
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: (08) 8463 6800
Email: Complete our contact form


Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning
PO Box 500
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Phone: 136 186

More information

SA state government logo
Victoria State Government logo