Water trading and licence transfers

​Water trading is the buying and selling of water entitlements by licence holders. It is the only way of obtaining new or additional water allocations in the Yarra Basin, as a licensing cap prevents additional water being taken for commercial or irrigation purposes.

The buyer and seller determine prices, and Melbourne Water must approve all trades in writing before the water can be used. We will only approve trades that do not significantly impact the supply of other licence holders or the environment.

Apply to trade water


You can trade some or all of your licensed water volume on a permanent or temporary basis.

Selling water

If you wish to trade water in the current financial year you must apply before 31 March – unless you’re transferring your licence because you’ve sold your property, in which case you can apply all year round.

If you’re thinking of trading water, we encourage you to submit an expression of interest so we can record your details in our register. This allows us to put prospective purchasers in contact with you.  There is no obligation to trade at any time.

Buying water

If you’re looking to buy water, you can get a copy of our trade register by contacting the Diversions Management team on 131 722.

Our water trading fact sheet has detailed information on types of trading, limitations on where it can occur and how to apply. Download the fact sheet and associated resources:

Transfer your licence – property sales


If your property has a diversion licence, it can be permanently transferred to the buyer when you sell your property. This is different to water trading because it doesn’t change where the water is taken from or the land where the water is used.

Use our online application form to transfer your water entitlement once you’ve sold your land:

Apply online

Our fact sheet has further details on how to transfer your licence if you sell your property:

Victorian Water Register

Further supporting information on water trading is available from the Victorian Water Register.


Under the Water Act 1989, if you are applying for a licence to ‘take and use’ water or construct works you may need to:

  • notify adjoining landholders in writing of your application

  • advertise in your local newspaper – for applications greater than 20 megalitres

For more information on advertising requirements, as well as sample notification letters, read our advertising guidelines.


Last updated:
19 February 2021