NRM levy

We all benefit from natural resources in our region.

Whether it is fishing, four-wheel driving on the weekends, living on the land, working in the forest industry, cooking with local produce or simply enjoying the beautiful landscape, the condition of our natural resources underpins our lifestyle.

Our natural resources benefit everyone, which is why we contribute to a natural resources management (NRM) levy.

What are the NRM levies?

There are two types of levy. All ratepayers will see an amount on their council rates notice that contributes directly to managing natural resources. This is known as the NRM land levy and local councils collect this on behalf of the South East (SE) NRM Board.

Those who have a water allocation for irrigation or industrial use will also pay a water levy, through a separate notice. If you do not have a water licence, you do not pay this levy.

Part of the role of the SE NRM Board is to determine the priority NRM issues to address in the region and how to fund them. These decisions are made in line with the Regional NRM Plan, which is developed by the Board in collaboration with our partners and the community. The funding from the NRM levies is invested on all of the NRM priorities,  so money collected through the water levy is not necessarily spent directly on only water related projects.

Basis of the levies.

The NRM land levy is a fixed charge that depends on the purpose for which land is used. The categories of purpose of use are primary production, commercial, industrial and residential, vacant land and other. The proportion of the land levy income to be raised by each land use category is based on the total capital value of properties in that category for the region.

The NRM water levy is a fixed charge plus a rate per ML, or kL of allocation. This method means that all licence holders will contribute to the cost of administering their licence. 1 ML (megalitre) = 1,000 kL (kilolitres) = 1,000,000 L 

More information about the NRM levies and frequently asked questions are provided in these factsheets; Understanding your NRM Levy - Land & Understanding your NRM Levy - Water.


 Indicative 2017/18 NRM land levy rates per land use purpose 

Purpose of Use Category Indicative NRM land levy rate per rateable property for 2017/181   

Residential, Vacant & Other

 Commercial  $110.07
 Primary Production  $323.07

The levy rates per rateable property are indicative values only; the rates charged depend upon the rebates and remissions applied by councils. 

2017/18 – Water levy rates[JP1] 

Allocation type


Fixed charge per licence


Tintinara Coonalpyn, Tatiara, Padthaway and Lower Limestone Coast PWAs

Public water supply

$15.26/ML or 1.526 cents/kL

Water holding allocations1

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

Water taking allocations

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

Specialised production requirements (SPR) allocations

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

Delivery supplement allocations for confined aquifer

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

Delivery supplement allocations for unconfined aquifer2

$0.24/ML or 0.024 cents/kL

Water taking allocations for industrial, aquaculture, industrial-dairy, intensive animal keeping, environmental and recreational uses3

$3.18/ML or 0.318 cents/kL

Lower Limestone Coast PWA only

Forest water allocation

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

Specialised production requirements (SPR) frost allocations4

$0.80/ML or 0.080 cents/kL

Morambro Creek watercourse (including Cockatoo Lake and Nyroca Channel) and its surface water area

Water taking allocations5

$2.41/ML or 0.241 cents/kL

$21.00 per share

1 From 2016/17 onwards, the Board has resolved to rate water holding allocations at the same levy rate as that of taking allocations.

2 The levy rate for extraction of delivery supplements from the unconfined aquifer is 10% of the regional volumetric levy rate based on the rationale that this water is returned as recharge to the source aquifer.

3 Water taking allocations for industrial, aquaculture, industrial-dairy, intensive animal keeping, environmental and recreational uses (formerly referred to as existing volumetric allocations) have a higher levy rate because they are currently exempt from reductions to allocations.

4 Specialised production requirements (SPR) frost protection allocations are allocations to be used only for frost protection of vines. In recognition that some years will require higher frost water use than others, a three-year-rolling-average scheme has been developed for frost control in all South East water allocation plans. In Tatiara and Padthaway PWAs only, an annual allocation of 1/3 of their total frost allocation is issued on the licence. In the LLC PWA, the full 3 years of allocation for SPR frost protection has been issued on the licence, therefore the levy rate for SPR frost in the LLC PWA is 1/3 of the rate in the other PWAs to ensure equity between users.

5 Water allocations from the Morambro Creek watercourse are allocated as a share of the available volume.

What do we get from the NRM levy?

NRM levy funds are invested in a work program that is implemented for the SE NRM Board by Natural Resources South East. Some of the key initiatives in the work program are assisting landholders to meet their responsibilities to control pest plants and pest animals, planning with the community to ensure that natural resources are sustained for use and enjoyment in the future, providing NRM education in schools, and working with landholders to improve their management of land.

The NRM levies also help the Board to attract $2.2 million in federal funding to deliver programs that achieve sustainable agriculture and environmental outcomes. These programs include working to conserve and restore remnant habitats, and assisting landholders to protect native vegetation and better manage pests and soils.

Download our Highlights and Stories 2014-2015 to see some of the great outcomes from NRM Levy investment in the region.

Business Plan 2016/17-2018/19

The Business Plan 2016/17-2018/19 has been adopted by the Minister.

The SE NRM Board prepared this Business Plan to raise additional income from NRM levies to contribute to State Water Planning and Management costs, and meet increased costs for Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources services to deliver the Board’s work program.

For more information on Water Planning and Management costs download the factsheet .

The Board listened to feedback

The SE NRM Board received significant feedback through its community consultation on the draft Business Plan. Most submissions opposed the increases in the NRM levies and there was significant opposition to the proposal of a NRM land levy based on the capital value of land.

The Board responded to this feedback by proposing an alternative method for raising the land levy that uses a flat rate based on the purpose for which the land is used. This method reflects that some landowners receive greater NRM benefits from the levy dollars spent, but reduces the impact on those landowners that are asset rich and income poor. The categories proposed to be used to differentiate the purpose of use of land are residential, vacant land, commercial, industrial and primary production.

To reduce the impact on levy payers, the Board reduced its work program by 10.8% (decreasing the overall amount required to be raised through NRM levies by $530,000).