Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin

Water entitlement purchasing in the Murray-Darling Basin

The Australian Government has committed $3.2 billion to purchase water for the environment.

Water buybacks obtain water for the environment from irrigators who wish to offer their water entitlement for sale. The Australian Government is acquiring a portfolio of entitlements which best meet the environment's needs.

Activities under this program:

Water Purchase Tender in southern New South Wales

The Australian Government has commenced a small surface water purchase tender in the southern New South Wales Murray and Lower Darling catchments. The tender has a budget of up to $10 million.

In this tender, the Australian Government is only seeking sell offersfor High Security and General Security surface water entitlements.

The tender opened at 9:00am on 9 April 2014 and will close at 5.00 pm AEST on 28 April 2014.

For more information see: Southern New South Wales Water Purchase Tender

Groundwater Purchase Tender in Queensland Central Condamine Alluvium – Round 2

The Australian Government has commenced its second groundwater purchase tender in the Queensland Central Condamine Alluvium. The tender has a budget of up to $5 million.

In this tender, the Government is only seeking sell offers for water licences held in the Central Condamine Alluvium Groundwater Management Area. At this time sell offers in the Upper Condamine Alluvium Tributaries will not be accepted. Licence holders who submitted a sell offer in the first groundwater tender must submit a new offer to be eligible for this tender.

The tender opened at 9am AEDT on Monday 24 March 2014 and will close at 5.00 pm AEST on Friday 11 April 2014.
For more information see: Groundwater Purchase Tender in Queensland Central Condamine Alluvium – Round 2

Water Purchase Tender in the Queensland Lower Balonne

The Australian Government’s Queensland Lower Balonne Tender closed at 5pm AEDT on 14 March 2014.

The Department is currently assessing applications received under this tender.

Strategic Water Purchase Initiative in Victoria - Round 3

The Australian Government has commenced a third round of the Strategic Water Purchase Initiative in Victoria with a budget of up to $4 million.

The initiative aims to pursue environmental water purchase opportunities arising from the decommissioning of channels involved in the roll-out of the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project.

The third round opened on 3 February 2014 and will close at 5.00 pm AEST on 20 June 2014, unless the limit of the budget has been reached before this date.

For more information see: Strategic Water Purchase Initiative in Victoria round 3

Strategic Water Purchase Initiative in Victoria - Round 2

The second round of the Strategic Water Purchase Initiative in Victoria closed 5 pm (AEDT) 6 December 2013.

The assessment of applications received has been completed and applicants have been advised of the outcome.

Average prices from this round have been released to provide greater transparency and to assist irrigators considering placing a sell offer in the future.
See: Average prices of offers pursued from recent tenders

2013 Water Purchase Tender in southern New South Wales

The August 2013 water purchase tender in southern New South Wales has closed for applications.

The assessment of applications received has been completed and applicants have been advised of the outcome.

Strategic Sub-System Reconfiguration in the Murray-Darling Basin

As part of the implementation of the Australian Government's election commitment to re-phase four years of expenditure on water buybacks over six years, the Strategic Sub-System Reconfiguration in the Murray-Darling Basin program has ceased.

Water purchase progress and pricing information

Progress of water purchasing to date

Outcomes from the Government's southern and northern Basin water purchase tenders are regularly updated.

For more information see: Progress of water purchasing

For more information about total water recovery progress towards environmental water requirements in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan see: Progress Towards Meeting Environmental Needs Under The Basin Plan

Average prices of offers pursued in recent water purchasing

Pricing information is publicly released at the conclusion of each water purchase initiative to provide greater transparency and to assist irrigators considering placing a sell offer in the future.

For more information see: Average prices of offers pursued from recent tenders

Information on water market pricing

The Department commissions independent consultants to compile quarterly price reports to assist irrigators to identify the prices that are being paid for various water entitlements across the Murray-Darling Basin.

For more information see: Market price information for Murray-Darling Basin Water Entitlements

Survey of water entitlement sellers under the RtB program

In June 2012 the Department released a report commissioned by Marsden Jacob Associates Pty Ltd that independently assessed the impact of water sales to the Commonwealth on participating irrigators.

For more information and to access the final report see: Survey of water entitlement sellers under the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin Program

Contact us

For further information please phone the Water Information Line on 1800 218 478 or e-mail the Water Purchasing Section at waterpurchasing@environment.gov.au.

Water purchasing by catchment in the Murray-Darling Basin+*

Image map of catchments in the Murray-Darling BasinDarlingParooWarregoMacquarie-BoganCastlereaghNamoiGwydirBorder RiversMoonieLachlanMurrumbidgeeNSW MurrayVic MurrayKiewaOvensBrokenGoulburnCampaspeLoddonAvocaWimmera - MalleeSouth Australia MurrayCondamine-Balonne

Irrigation catchments

  1. Avoca
  2. Border Rivers
  3. Broken
  4. Campaspe
  5. Castlereagh
  6. Condamine-Balonne
  7. Darling (Barwon-Darling)
  8. Goulburn
  9. Gwydir
  10. Kiewa
  11. Lachlan
  12. Loddon
  13. Macquarie-Bogan
  14. Moonie
  15. Murrumbidgee
  16. Namoi
  17. NSW Murray
  18. *Ovens
  19. Paroo
  20. SA Murray
  21. *Vic Murray
  22. Warrego
  23. Wimmera-Mallee

+ The water purchasing catchments on this map are based on the Murray-Darling Basin River catchments with modifications to catchments along the Murray River to accommodate trading practicalities.

* To protect the privacy and confidentiality of individual sellers, purchasing information in catchments with less than five offers being pursued have been combined with information from nearby catchments with similar characteristics.