The sources of national and cross-border water trading rules in Australia are summarised in the table below. This table is for general information only. For further information click the links below or seek advice from your local water authorities.
|Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative||Nationally||
The National Water Initiative (NWI) represents a shared commitment by governments to increase the efficiency of Australia's water use, leading to greater certainty for investment and productivity, for rural and urban communities, and for the environment. Under the NWI, governments have made commitments to:
|Murray–Darling Basin Plan||Murray–Darling Basin||
The Basin Plan provides a high level framework that sets standards for the Australian Government, Basin States and the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (Authority) to manage the Murray–Darling Basin's water resources in a coordinated and sustainable way in collaboration with the community.
The purpose of the Basin Plan is to provide for the integrated management of the Basin water resources in a way that promotes the objects of the Water Act 2007 (Cth), in particular by providing for:
The management outcome for the Basin Plan as a whole is a healthy and working Murray–Darling Basin that includes:
|Murray–Darling Basin Agreement (Schedule D – Permissible Transfers between Trading Zones) Protocol 2010||Murray–Darling Basin||The Murray–Darling Basin Agreement (Schedule D – Permissible Transfers between Trading Zones) Protocol 2010 provides the legislative basis for interstate and inter-valley trading in the Murray–Darling Basin. Schedule D establishes:
The Murray–Darling Basin Agreement forms Schedule 1 of the Water Act 2007.
|Murray–Darling Basin Agreement Schedule F||Murray-Darling Basin||Schedule F of the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement establishes long-term diversion caps from rivers within the Murray-Darling Basin.|
|New South Wales – Queensland Border Rivers Intergovernmental Agreement 2008||NSW – Qld border rivers||Schedule E of the New South Wales – Queensland Border Rivers Intergovernmental Agreement 2008 establishes the interstate trading rules for the border rivers area.|
|Water Act 2007||Murray–Darling Basin (however some parts of the Act apply nationally)||The Water Act 2007 implemented key reforms for water management in the Murray–Darling Basin. The key features of the Act are:
|Water Amendment Act 2008||Murray–Darling Basin (however some parts of the Act apply nationally)||The key features of the Water Amendment Act 2008 are:
|Water Regulations 2008||Murray–Darling Basin (however some parts of the Regulations apply nationally)||The Water Regulations 2008 address:
|Water Amendment Regulations 2010||Murray–Darling Basin (however some parts of the Regulations apply nationally)||The Water Amendment Regulations 2010 were developed to enhance the coverage of the water charge rules in the Murray–Darling Basin. The purpose of the water charge rules is to promote efficient water pricing and sustainable use of water resources and water infrastructure across the Basin. The regulations will ensure a more consistent approach to regulating water charges across the Basin for the benefit of water users and providers.|
See also the ACCC's Water market rules and water charge rules page, which contains guides and explanatory statements regarding the rules.
The Water Act 2007 provides for water market, charge and trading rules to be made to regulate the water market and water charges across the Murray–Darling Basin. The rules aim to free up trade, encourage the efficient use of water and water service infrastructure, and improve pricing transparency and consistency across the Basin.
The Water Market Rules 2009 regulate a process known as 'transformation'. In areas where an irrigation infrastructure operator (IIO) holds a bulk water entitlement, the water market rules prohibit actions of an IIO that prevent or unreasonably delay irrigators from transforming all or part of their irrigation rights into separate statutory water access entitlements, allowing them to be traded outside the irrigation district.
The Water Charge (Termination Fees) Rules 2009 cap the termination fee that may be imposed by IIOs when an irrigator chooses to terminate their access to the IIO's irrigation network.
The Water Charge (Infrastructure) Rules 2009 deal with fees and charges for:
The Water Charge (Planning and Management Information) Rules 2010 govern a variety of water planning and management activities. Specific activities covered by these rules which relate to water trading include: