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Water markets and trade allow for the redistribution of water through buying and selling water rights including water licences, water access entitlements and water allocations. An effective water market will enable water to flow to where it can be used most productively or has the highest value.

It provides entitlement holders with an effective way of managing changing use requirements, climate variability and reallocating water during prolonged drought and times of scarcity.

The South Australian River Murray is part of the southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin water market which is a connected water resource covering parts of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

The southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin is one of the most mature water markets in the world and is based on a 'cap and trade' system where the cap represents the total pool of water available for consumptive use and water can only move among licence holders, and to new businesses, by trade.

There are also a number of established and emerging water markets operating in other prescribed water resources in South Australia.

For more information on water trade:

About water rights

Water trading overview

Trading rules

Fees and charges


Water Licence Register 


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