Market Mechanisms for Recovering Water in the Murray-Darling Basin

Commissioned study

This study is completed. The final research report was sent to government on 24 March 2010 and was publicly released on 31 March 2010.

On 24 July 2009, the Productivity Commission received a terms of reference from the Australian Government asking it to undertake a study into alternative market mechanisms for recovering water in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The study's focus was on identifying:

  • appropriate, effective and efficient mechanisms that could be used to diversify the range of options to purchase water entitlements under the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program to restore environmental flows
  • impediments to new and established water purchase mechanisms and how these could be overcome.

In undertaking the study, the Commission considered a range of issues, including:

  • mechanisms used nationally and internationally by governments to purchase water entitlements or similar property rights
  • the proposed pace of environmental water recovery and the depth of the water markets in the Murray-Darling Basin
  • impact on the water market, particularly where the Government may be the dominant buyer
  • potential methods to maximise synergies between water purchase and the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure program.

In the course of the study, the Commission consulted widely with interested parties including Commonwealth and State Government agencies as well as industry and community groups.

Further information