Victoria is cracking down on sourcing irrigation water from the Murray River and has urged other states to do the same in a bid to ensure environmental flows.
For the next year all licence applications for the lower Murray region, below the NSW border town of Barmah, must be referred to Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville for assessment.
New licences will not be granted for extraction nor limits increased if they are shown to pose an increased risk to the environment or entitlement holders, she said.
Updated modelling from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is due within the next 12 months and the minister has asked her NSW and South Australian counterparts to similarly tighten approval processes until the new data is received.
"We are reaching the limit of the water that's available to be delivered to the lower Murray region," Labor MP Ms Neville told reporters on Wednesday.
Increased demand for water downstream had led to higher summer flows which are eroding important waterways including the Goulburn River and the Barmah Choke, a narrow stretch of the Murray, she added.
"I have reached out to SA and NSW because they're the other states that have irrigation developments below the Barmah Choke in the lower Murray area and have asked them to work with us and put in place a similar approach," Ms Neville said.
NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would do what was best for her state.
"I do notice and obviously take note of what other states are doing," she said.
"But where NSW is concerned, we've been in the deepest drought in living memory and we have a responsibility to ensure our communities are given every support."
The South Australian government says it will continue to monitor risks of water delivery below the Barmah Choke and take action if necessary.
News of Victoria's tightened licensing process follows ongoing debate about management of the Murray-Darling Basin and calls for a royal commission amid allegations of rorting.
© AAP 2019