Australian water markets report 2010-11

Australian water markets report 2010-11The Australian water markets report 2010–11 is the National Water Commission’s fourth annual statement of water trading activity across Australia.

As well as providing the definitive national statement of water trading activity, the report stands as a valuable information resource that describes trading arrangements and activity in each jurisdiction. It updates market users and other interested parties on market activity, recent administrative and legislative changes, and key events influencing the various water markets across Australia.


2010–11 was characterised by high rainfall and flooding across large areas of Australia, with 2010 being the wettest year on record in the Murray–Darling Basin. Water allocations were the highest seen in at least six years in eastern Australia. Allocations that were not required to water crops were traded, in large volumes and at low prices, to those who had capacity to store water for future seasons through mechanisms such as carryover.

Water trading in Australia continues to be strongly concentrated in the Murray–Darling Basin, which accounted for 83% of entitlement trade and 98% of allocation trade in 2010–11. However, entitlement trading outside the basin continued to grow, from 131 GL in 2009–10 to 205 GL in 2010–11.

Recorded trade activity suggests the estimated value of the market fell by 50% from around $3 billion in 2009–10 to approximately $1.5 billion in 2010–11. At the same time, the volume of water traded increased, and the fall in the overall value of the market reflected the significant reductions in allocation trade prices and reduced entitlement trade.

The report

In compiling the 2011 report, the Commission engaged Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu to assist with data analysis, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences to produce supporting maps. The Bureau of Meteorology collected water trading data under the Water Act 2007.

The Commission recognises the significant efforts involved in producing the report, including by the entities named under the Water Regulations 2008. In particular, the Commission acknowledges the assistance of the states and territories in validating the data and improving the contextual information provided in the 2011 Markets Report.

The Commission also acknowledges the contributions of other data providers not named under the Water Regulations 2008.

Documents for download

Introduction (PDF 1.5MB)

Section 1: Executive summary (PDF 1.4MB)

Section 2: Overview of water markets (PDF 3.4MB)

Section 3: National summary of trading activity (PDF 4.4MB)

Section 4.1: Queensland (PDF 4.6MB)

Section 4.2: Victoria (PDF 3.4MB)

Section 4.3: South Australia (PDF 3MB)

Section 4.4: New South Wales (PDF 4MB)

Section 4.5: Western Australia (PDF 3MB)

Section 4.6: Northern Territory (PDF 2MB)

Section 4.7: Australian Capital Territory (PDF 2.1MB)

Section 4.8: Tasmania (PDF 2.5MB)

Section 5: Market performance (PDF 3.5MB)