Australian water markets reports

Cover of 2020-21 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 2020-21.

Key messages

  • For 2020-21, the estimated market turnover was $6 billion.
  • With increased rainfall leading to improved water availability in 2020–21, there were record high volumes of water allocations traded (7991 GL) and prices paid decreased significantly from the previous year.
  • In the southern Murray-Darling Basin, entitlement prices remained high driven by continued demand from irrigators looking to underpin ongoing water requirements for high value crops.
  • Surface water allocations traded outside the Murray-Darling decreased compared to 2019–20 due to the variability of water availability in other areas of Australia, with parts of Queensland experiencing extended dry conditions during 2020–21, whereas coastal NSW experienced flooding which lessened demand for allocation trading.
About the report


Archive–Previous water markets reports

2019-20: Australian Water Market Report (5.0MB)

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 14th 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 2020–21 report provides an overview of the trends and statistics of the 2020–21 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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