Types of water trading
The main types of water trading in Queensland are permanent trading of water allocations, leasing of water allocations, seasonal assignment of water available under water allocations, interim water allocations and water licences.
In certain areas of the state, interim water allocations can also be permanently transferred.
Interstate water trading with New South Wales is available in the Border Rivers and Macintyre Brook Water Supply Schemes.
- Permanent trading of water allocations
- Leasing water allocations
- Seasonal water assignments
- Permanent transfer of interim water allocations
Permanent trading of water allocations
Permanent trading involves buying and selling—i.e. transferring—water allocations.
It may also involve other dealings with water allocations such as:
- changing their attributes, for example moving their location
- subdividing them
- amalgamating them.
All permanent trades involving dealings with Queensland water entitlements must be registered on the Water Allocations Register.
Depending on the nature of the dealing, it will fall into either of the following categories:
- dealings that require approval from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (the department) before they can be registered
- dealings that do not require approval from the department before they can be registered.
For further information see:
- Water Trading: Permanent Water Trading (PDF, 143K)*
- Water Trading: Border Rivers Interstate Water Market—Permanent Trades and Leases (PDF, 240K)*
- water trading approvals and registration.
Leasing water allocations
A water allocation lease is similar to a lease of land, however only whole water allocations can be leased.
When a water allocation is leased, all the benefits and responsibilities of holding the allocation are transferred to the lessee for the period of the lease.
For example, if the announced allocation is increased after an inflow, the additional water is available to the lessee.
Water allocation leases do not have to be approved by the department, but they must be registered on the Water Allocations Register using a Form 7—Lease/Sublease (PDF, file unavailable)*.
Seasonal water assignments
Seasonal water assignments are useful for meeting additional short-term water needs. Under these assignments, some or all of the water that may be taken under a water entitlement in a water year can be assigned to another person or place.
A water year, which sometimes coincides with the financial year, is the annual accounting period for a resource operations plan (ROP) or water licence as outlined in the Water Regulation 2002.
A volume of water from the amount available under the entitlement is assigned after the announced allocation. The volume assigned is therefore not affected by any increase in the announced allocation during the water year, the benefits of which go to the holder of the entitlement—not the person to whom the water has been assigned.
A supplemented water supply is one which is made more reliable by releases of stored water, for example from dams. Supplemented supplies are managed by water supply scheme operators, for example SunWater.
An unsupplemented supply is one that is not boosted by releases of stored water. Unsupplemented supplies are managed by the department.
Both supplemented and unsupplemented supplies can be seasonally assigned.
Holders of supplemented water allocations who want to arrange an assignment should contact their water supply scheme operator, for example SunWater.
Seasonal assignment of unsupplemented water can only be arranged for:
- water allocations in areas where a water resource plan (WRP) or a ROP allows for them
- water licences in areas where a WRP or ROP allows for them, for example in a water management area or other area identified in a ROP
- in water management areas where a regulation allows for seasonal assignment of water licences.
Water licences that do not specify the volume of the entitlement, for example hectare licences, cannot be seasonally assigned.
The rules for seasonal assignment of unsupplemented water for water allocations and licences managed under a WRP or a ROP are specified in the relevant plans. Applicants should first read these rules and liaise with their local business centre to arrange the assignment.
- Water Trading: Seasonal Water Assignments and Water Leases (PDF, 147K)*
- Water Trading: Border Rivers Interstate Water Market—Temporary Trade (PDF, 212K)*
Permanent transfer of interim water allocations
An interim water allocation is an entitlement to be supplied with a volumetric share of water by the operator of a water supply scheme. They are usually attached or tied to the land.
An interim water allocation can be permanently transferred, in whole or in part, to the owner of another landholding only in the Mary River Water Supply Scheme.
For further information see Water Trading: Trading Interim Water Allocations (PDF, 133K)*.
The department charges application fees for:
- processing applications to change, subdivide or amalgamate water allocations. An application to change a water allocation in a manner not specifically permitted under the water trading rules may attract additional fees associated with the expense of researching the application and for public advertisement
- assessing land and water management plans.
The Registrar of Water Allocations charges lodgement fees for:
- lodging documents. Further fees may apply after lodgement depending on the type of dealing, for example each new title created as a result of a water allocation subdivision will attract fees
- searching the Water Allocations Register.
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Last updated 1 March 2011