Australian water markets reports

Cover of 2018-19 Australian Water Markets Report National overview

The Bureau publishes an annual report providing a comprehensive review of water markets across Australia.


  • Australian Water Market Report 2019-20.
  • Key messages
    • For 2019-20, the estimated market turnover was $7 billion.
    • Record high entitlement and allocation prices were a result of low water availability and water demand for high value crops during the latter half of 2019 in response to the very dry period experienced across the Murray-Darling Basin. However, in early 2020, rainfall relief across most of eastern Australia led to significant decreases in allocation prices.
    • Water trading is slowly expanding outside the MDB, with emerging markets in Queensland, Tasmania, coastal NSW, southern Victoria, southeast South Australia and parts of Western Australia.
About the report


Archive–Previous water markets reports

2018-19: Australian Water Market Report (5.2MB)

2017-18: National overview(9.7MB); Southern Murray–Darling Basin (9.7MB); All other water systems (9.7MB)

2013-14 to 2016-17: ABARES reports

2007-08 to 2012-13: National Water Commission reports

About the Australian water markets report

The Australian water markets report provides a comprehensive review of water markets across Australia and includes data from a range of Commonwealth, state and private sector sources. This report series is designed to inform market participants, regulators, policy makers, researchers and other interested parties about Australia's water market. The focus is on irrigated agriculture, the largest user of water in Australia.

The report provides detailed analysis of trade volumes, prices and market behaviour to provide a complete examination of the supply and demand drivers of Australia's water markets. It also covers climatic factors, water availability, environmental water and irrigated agricultural activity, as well as traded products, trading activity, prices and any relevant changes in water market structures.

This is the 13th annual statement of water trading activity across Australia. The National Water Commission (NWC) published the first six reports in the series, from 2007–08 to 2012–13. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) produced the 2013–14 to 2016–17 editions of the report. The Bureau of Meteorology produced the report from 2017–18.

The 2019–20 report provides an overview of the trends and statistics of the 2019–20 water year. More detailed data can be viewed via the Bureau's Water Markets Dashboard.

The report incorporates data from:

  • Bureau of Meteorology – primary information on water trading and water balances. Under the Water Act 2007 and the Water Regulations 2008, the Bureau has statutory responsibility for collecting water trade data from jurisdictional agencies and irrigation infrastructure operators.
  • ABARES – historical information from previous Australian Water Market Reports.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics – information on farm water use and irrigated agricultural production.
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office – information on the holdings and trade activity of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment – information on Australian Government environmental water recovery.
  • State and local water authorities – information about specific water systems.

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