Unallocated water is reserved under water planning instruments and can be made available for future consumptive use without compromising the security of existing users or the environmental values within a catchment.
Types of unallocated water include:
- General reserve: water that may be granted for any purpose
- Strategic or state reserve: water that may be granted for projects that the chief executive considers are of regional significance for the plan area or have been declared to be coordinated projects under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971
- Strategic infrastructure: water that may be granted to facilitate the development of particular water infrastructure projects (e.g. new dams) in the relevant water plan;
- Indigenous reserve: water that may be granted for projects that advance the social and economic aspirations of indigenous people
For information on unallocated water in your area, contact the department's business centre in the relevant water resource plan area.
Current unallocated water releases
The department has now commenced a process to release unallocated water in subcatchment areas in the Fitzroy Basin. The release is via a competitive process, with tenders closing 23 February 2017.
- Further details about the process, including how to lodge a tender, can be found in the Terms of Sale (PDF, 2.0MB).
- A public notice about the release is also available.
The department is preparing offers to those who are next in line through the current Gulf unallocated water process. We will be in contact with tenderers to advise them of the outcome of this process.
Please note that the process is not yet finalised, and due to the confidential nature of the tender process, outcomes will only be disclosed once finalised
Fixed price process
The department is progressing a fixed price sale process in the Whitsunday Water Resource Plan area. Only those who applied in the 2014 tender process were eligible to apply. The Terms of Sale were provided to eligible candidates, and applications closed on 26 February 2016.
The department is assessing applications received for this fixed price unallocated water release process.
Future releases will be considered by the Chief Executive after the conclusion of the closed fixed price process.
Recently completed unallocated water release
Great Artesian Basin
The department recently made offers of water licences to successful tenderers of Great Artesian Basin unallocated water. Water licences have now been granted to those who accepted their offer.
The tender assessment report (PDF, 1.3MB) summarises the outcomes of the release.
Water for Queensland map
The water for Queensland map displays the unallocated water general reserve volumes of surface and sub-artesian water that is available in each catchment or management area across Queensland. The map also shows the unallocated water general reserve volumes of artesian water available in management areas of the Great Artesian Basin.
Previous unallocated general reserve water releases
The table below show key data about release processes that have occurred previously and which have been completed. Note that in some areas only parts of the plan area have had unallocated general reserve water released.
|Plan area||Release date||Water type||Volume available for release (ML)||Volume granted (ML)||Summary report|
|Great Artesian Basin||22 Oct 2015||Groundwater||18,200||1780^||Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 1.3MB)|
|Whitsunday||18 Jun 2014||Surface water and groundwater||28,500||0||Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 904.7KB)|
|Great Artesian Basin||30 May 2013||Groundwater||7,200#||785||Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 1.3MB)|
|Baffle Creek||21 Jun 2013||Surface water||11,600||633*||Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 2.1MB)|
|Gulf -Flinders & Gilbert||22 Nov 2013||Surface water||95,000||94,220||Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 2.1MB)|
#release occurred in the Surat, Surat East and Surat North management areas.
*33ML was granted during the tender process with a further 600ML granted following the completion of the tender process.
^release occurred in 27 of the 32 management areas.
- The Volume available for release column refers to the amount of volume released during that process. For whole of catchment releases, such as Whitsunday, this figure represents the total amount of unallocated water available for release as stated in the relevant plan. For releases in sub-catchment areas this figure only represents the total available in those sub-catchment areas, as stated in the relevant water plan.
- The Volume granted column refers to the amount of water granted during the release. This can be less than the volume available if there is a lack of sufficient interest or if applicants were unable to meet the criteria for purchase of the water.