The Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements (Water Register) was established to provide greater transparency about the level of foreign ownership of Australia’s water entitlements.
If you're a foreign person you may need to register your interests in certain water entitlements or contractual water rights on the Water Register by completing the Land and Water Registration Form unless an exemption applies.
On this page:
Changes coming soon
As part of foreign investment reforms a new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets will be introduced on 1 July 2023.
From 26 June 2023 our new ATO online service, Online services for foreign investors, will be available. You will be able to use this service to manage a range of foreign investment obligations online, including:
- applying for residential approval
- registering your assets
- updating your details
- lodging your vacancy fee return.
Who must register
From 1 July 2017, foreign persons are required to register their interests in registerable water entitlements and contractual water rights on the Water Register by completing the Land and Water Registration Form.
The definitions of registrable water entitlement, contractual water right, and foreign person in relation to irrigation infrastructure can be found on the foreign investment terms and definitions page.
- Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) Guidance Note 2: Key Concepts - refer to the 'Word download' or 'PDF download' for the definition of a 'foreign person'
When to register
A foreign person or their agent may register at any time during the year (for example, when the event occurs). However, they must register no later than 30 days after the end of the financial year when the event occurred.
As a foreign person you will need to register your interest in a registrable water entitlement or a contractual water right, when you:
- acquire a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right
- became a foreign person while holding a registrable water entitlement or contractual water right.
How to register
To register you will need to complete the Land and Water Registration Form. It is free to register.
You will need to provide the following information:
Land and water register and instructions
- ownership details, including nationality and percentage owned
- water entitlement details, including type and entitlement number or identifier
- water resource type
- flow control (if applicable)
- volume (megalitre)
- sector and usage details.
If your situation changes
You will need to update your existing registration by completing the Land and Water Registration Form when:
- you dispose of the registrable water entitlement or contractual water right
- you are no longer a foreign person
- the volume of your registrable water entitlement or contractual water right changes.
If you are unsure of when you're required to register, see the examples on Water register terms and definitions.
Penalties and reporting breaches
If you don't meet your obligations to register, or fail to keep your details up to date, you may face administrative penalties under the Taxation Administration Act 1953. More information on the failure to lodge penalty is outlined in PS LA 2011/19 - Administration of the penalty for failure to lodge.
If you have information about someone you think may be deliberately breaking our foreign investment rules, you can report it to us.
Report a breach of the foreign investment real estate rules
Statistics and reporting
The Commissioner of Taxation reports annually to the Treasurer on the operation of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Water or Agricultural Land Act 2015. is The Commissioner is required to publish aggregate statistics of foreign ownership each year.
The latest Register of Foreign Ownership of Water Entitlements – Report of Registrations is available at Foreign Investment Review Board publicationsExternal Link.
Reported statistics include:
- proportion of water entitlements held by foreign persons
- foreign held water entitlement by state or territory
- foreign held water entitlement by state or territory and resource
- foreign held water entitlement by state or territory and type
- how foreign held water entitlements are used.
If you can't resolve an issue, you can phone or email us:
If you need language assistance contact the Translating and Interpreting Service:
Foreign persons investing in Australian water entitlements need to register their interests or rights by completing the ATO Land and Water Registration Form.
- 13 14 50 (within Australia)
- +61 3 9268 8332 (from outside Australia).