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In 2007, Southern Rural Water embarked on a project supported by consultants to map our aquifers in three dimensions. Geological information from nearly 8,000 bores was used to map the shape, depth and location of different aquifers. The completed maps gave us a new way to describe and visualise aquifers and groundwater information. The maps on this website are based on that work.

  • Licence to drill a bore for D&S purposes: $440
  • Licence to drill a bore for irrigation, dairy, commercial, industrial, urban and other non-D&S uses: from $1,535 (this includes the ‘Take and use’ application fee and increases according to licence volume and intended use)
  • Ongoing annual fee to use groundwater (not required for D&S use): $370 + $4.10/ML
  • Intensive Management Charge (this applies in the Deutgam and Koo Wee Rup GMUs only)

For more information on fees and charges visit the fact sheet on Fee Schedules (PDF)  or contact us.

Other costs depend on:

  • The type of pump you use
  • When you use your pump (peak vs off-peak costs from your energy provider)
  • Your pumping rate

We have set up a forum called Watermatch to help people who want to trade water connect with each other in their local area. 

  • Local Management Plans or rules that apply to the area
  • Government policies
  • The needs of existing water users including the environment (eg surface water bodies, waterways and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems)
  • Section 40 of The Water Act 1989
  • Irrigation development guidelines if they apply

For more information please read our fact sheet on What happens when you apply to take and use water (PDF)

Licence conditions specify that we cannot guarantee the quantity or quality of water accessed through a bore. Other licence conditions may specify restrictions on when you can access your entitlement as well as any metering, monitoring and reporting requirements.  Licence holders must also have regard to rules set out in relevant Groundwater Management Plans and Local Management Plans.  

Another option is to surrender your licence and give up your entitlement (with the benefit of saving you the ongoing annual fee and the costs of bore maintenance). If you do so and wish to access groundwater in the future you will need to apply for a new entitlement or seek to trade from an existing entitlement holder. 

Groundwater can be used for many purposes provided it is of a quality that is fit for that purpose. Some basic guidelines and beneficial uses can been found on our groundwater salinity page.

For more specific advice please contact The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on 13 61 86.

If you would like to have your water quality tested visit the National Association of Testing Authorities website or call 03 9329 1633 to find your nearest accredited laboratory.


  • This is often caused by a ‘failed’ bore. Bores do not last forever – on average they have a lifespan of around 30 years. They also need to be properly maintained so that they perform as they should. It is your responsibility as the bore owner to maintain your bore in proper working order.
  • Shallow upper aquifers can ‘fill and spill’ seasonally. This is because they can be very thin and do not store large volumes of water. Towards the end of summer groundwater levels in your area may drop resulting in poorer yields. These aquifers usually fill again after winter and spring rains and you will find that your bore yield returns.
  • In some cases your bore may be being impacted by pumping interference from a neighbouring bore. If this is occurring and your bore is in good working condition please contact us.

The State Government has committed to increased consultation to preserve the cultural and social value of groundwater. Policies relating to this are outlined in the Sustainable Water Strategies and apply to the entire State of Victoria. 

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