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Unallocated water

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 business centre in the relevant water plan area.

Current unallocated water releases

Fitzroy Basin

Tenders for general reserve unallocated water in sub-catchment areas of the Fitzroy Basin closed on the 23 February 2017. We have commenced an assessment of tenders received.


We are currently finalising the Gulf unallocated water process. Due to the confidential nature of the tender process, outcomes will only be disclosed once finalised.

Recently completed unallocated water release

We have recently made offers to successful applicants for Whitsunday fixed price unallocated water process. Water licences have now been granted to those who accepted their offer.

The fixed price assessment report (PDF, 727.0KB) 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

This table shows key data about release processes that have occurred previously and which have been completed. 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      
Whitsunday 18 Dec 2015 Groundwater and surface water 28,500 1,700 Report summarising the outcomes (PDF, 727.0KB)
Great Artesian Basin 22 Oct 2015 Groundwater 18,200 1,780^ 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.


Last updated: 22 March 2017

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