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Water trading rules

There are a range of rules operating together to govern water trade in the Murray-Darling Basin. There is the overarching Commonwealth Government legislation set out in the Basin Plan 2012 (Cth) water trading rules which States must comply with. In addition, each Basin State which includes South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory establish their own water trading rules. State rules respond to the specific water resources in each state and the legislation governing those resources. The Basin States are responsible for:  

  • determining water allocations
  • developing policies and procedures for trade as contained in the water allocations plans listed below under the heading South Australian water trading rules
  • monitoring water use
  • developing water resource plans that set the rules for sharing water between users and the environment
  • day-to-day trade operations such as trade applications and approvals.  

Basin Plan trading rules 

The Basin Plan water trading rules operate alongside existing Basin state rules. The rules aim to:

  • reduce restrictions on trade
  • improve transparency and access to information
  • improve market confidence through a more effective water market.

South Australia’s water trading activity is consistent with the Basin Plan water trading rules and DEWNR has implemented a range of initiatives to meet the above objectives including:

  • making amendments to rules in the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse to lift restrictions on trade or clarify trading rules
  • adopting internal policies to ensure water announcements are timely and sensitive water market information is appropriately managed
  • requiring trade applicant’s to supply price information on transfer forms and improving price data provision
  • publishing information about the Minister’s environmental water trading for transparency.

Intrastate and interstate water trade

South Australia is part of the southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin water market.

Water trade is possible within South Australia (intrastate trade) and between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales (interstate trade).

For more information please refer to the water license and permit forms page or contact the DEWNR water licensing team:

  • Adelaide: (08) 8463 6876
  • Berri: (08) 8595 2053
Click here to view form.