Lake Hume dam and spillway,NSW, Australia.


Carryover is an entitlement based mechanism to allow unused water to be carried over for use in the following water year. It can help in long term water security by providing added flexibility and assist water planning for the next water year by mitigate price volatility in the new season. It can be made up of unused water allocations along with purchased temporary water. Rules are determined by the type of water entitlement you hold. To find out more about Carryover, read the Learn more about carryover section below.

However, if your Water Entitlement doesn’t allow for carryover or if you are looking for a lower risk carryover option, we can assist by finding appropriate entitlement holders who, for a cost, will carry the water over into the new water year before returning it back to you. Also, if your Water Entitlement allows the capacity to carry over and you are not maximising this feature, you can ask for a rental fee from a placer and we can assist in contracting an agreement and matching you with a placer who is looking to secure water needs for the following water year.

Learn more about carryover and what it means

Is carryover available in my state?

Carryover is not available on all licences and is subject to regulations and rules as specified by each state.

Carryover rules vary for each state and are necessary to make sure that water carried over does not lock up space in the dams that are needed for the inflows to support allocations to all entitlements.

For example, in New South Wales, the table below shows the maximum carryover capacity specified as a percentage of the total licence volume.

Murrumbidgee GS30
NSW Murray GS50
VIC Murray HR + LR100
Goulburn HR + LR100
Loddon HR + LR50
Campaspe HR + LR100
Broken HR50

To find out more on other state carryover rules and processes, visit:


Read the Victoria Carryover Insight Factsheet 

South Australia

Eligible to Class 3 (High Security) entitlements.
Under a rule change that came into effect on 1 July 2020, allocation volumes that would take an account above the 100 per cent limit in 2020-21 will be ‘rolled over’ into 2021-22.

Rollover volumes will only be available if the minimum opening allocation announced in April 2021 is 50 per cent or less, triggering carryover for 2021-22.

Learn more about Private carryover here 

When to use carryover?

Carryover can be used when you may not get enough water allocations in the next water season (dry to extremely dry conditions) to get your crop off to a good start or finish. For example, you could decide to use carryover if the weather turns wet and you want to carry over your unused water into the next season, as long as it does not impact your following season water allocations. As a general guideline, if the outlook for allocations is lower, then it is more important to consider using carryover.

What is a holder and placer?


A Holder is the party who is offering the facility of carryover



A Placer is the  party who has allocation which they wish to place with the holder for the purpose of carrying that water over into the following water year

What is the risk of a spill?

Having an understanding of the risk of low allocations, and an understanding of the way carryover works, the next thing to understand is the risk of a spill. Risk of a spill is when water spills over if dams fill up and storage space is needed for inflows to support allocations. When the dam spills, some of the spillable water is lost to make way for new allocations to all water shares. This water is recorded in your allocation account as spillable water to keep track of your carryover and allocation stored above 100 per cent of your water entitlement. You will only lose water if the dams spill to make room for inflows for new allocations.

With a spill, there is no guarantee of access to water above your full entitlement, you only have the security of access to water up the full volume of your water share(s). You cannot use or trade your spillable water until a low risk of spill declaration is made by the water authority in your state. The greater the volume you carryover as a percentage of your water share volume, the more exposed you are to the risk of a spill. Water carried over against high-reliability water shares is more exposed to the risk of the spill than water carried over against low-reliability water shares.

How can I calculate my carryover?

You can use the carryover calculator to test scenarios and get a better understanding of how carryover and spillable water will work in your situation.

How do I decide to use carryover?

The decision to use carryover water will depend on your irrigation needs, carryover abilities and the level of risk you are willing to take. It is ultimately your decision on the risk you will take on whether to use carryover or to swap the risk of water-stressed crops for the risk of a spill.

Having access to timely information such as the risk of water-stressed crops and the risk of low water allocations is critical when you make decisions on your ability to carryover. We can help you by providing information on your carryover ability and advice on carryover markets.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to be contacted by one of our brokers, please send us an email with your details.