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Water Accounts

A statement of Victoria’s water resources 2020-21


The Victorian Water Accounts 2020–2021 are the eighteenth in a series of reports that communicates to the public how Victoria’s water resources are sustainably managed and shared.

We know we cannot assume that our climate will remain the same. In light of the long-term challenges of a warming, drying climate and a growing population, Victorians need accurate information about water availability and use that highlights the many sources of, and demands for, water.

This year’s accounts tell the story of more rainfall and higher levels of water availability than in the previous year. Victorians experienced a spring-summer La Niña that brought significant rainfall across most of the state. Below-average rainfall persisted, however, in the north-west of the state.

This higher water availability during the year led to Victorian storages holding about 1,400 GL more water at the end of the water year compared to the start. A large proportion of this was in the Murray system. Victorian towns did not experience any restrictions beyond permanent water-saving rules, while seasonal water determinations were higher and there were fewer restrictions on diversions from unregulated streams.

The Victorian Water Accounts 2020–2021 show that the total volume of surface water, groundwater, recycled water and desalinated water available in 2020–21 was about 23,900 GL, which was 6,400 GL more than what was available in 2019–20. Of the water available, about 3,400 GL was taken for consumptive purposes, similar to volumes taken in the previous year. Another 657 GL of water held for the environment was delivered to support environmental outcomes in Victorian waterways.

The wealth of information presented in these accounts supports better-informed water-related decision-making for governments, businesses and individuals. For example, the draft Central and Gippsland Region Sustainable Water Strategy uses up-to-date information about water availability and use to plan the long-term water future of this region. Robust, timely water resource management information is essential to effectively operate the water entitlement and water resource planning frameworks.

On top of this comprehensive account of Victoria’s water availability and use, I invite you to explore the two Victorian Water Accounts online products: statewide highlights (at and more detailed water accounts (at for surface water basins, groundwater catchments and distribution systems.

These digital resources complement these accounts, providing a range of options for Victorians to explore and engage with water data. They demonstrate the Victorian Government’s commitment to providing clear information about water resources to the community.

Read the executive summary

Photo credit: Thomson Reservoir dicharge tower. Taken by Tim Bell.