About us

The National Water Market System project

The National Water Market System (NWMS) project is an important Council of Australian Governments (COAG) water reform project.

The NWMS will strengthen Australia's water market through efficient management of improved state and territory water registers, water transactions and availability of market information.

The NWMS project is part of a broader water reform agenda in Australia. Other water reform programs include activities being undertaken by the Department of the Environment, the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). Further information can be found at:

The NWMS is being developed so that water trading systems and processes will better meet the Water Market Performance Characteristics set by COAG and National Water Initiative  requirements.

The NWMS will support water accounting and resource management by providing market information and assisting with the accurate recording of water entitlements and management of transactions.

The objectives of the NWMS are to ensure:

  • up-to-date information about the water market is easily accessible and readily available, increasing market transparency and allowing for more informed water trading decisions
  • that each jurisdiction has a high-performing water register that accurately records water rights and supports water accounting and resource management
  • transaction times for trades and other dealings are not limited by water register processes or functions.

The NWMS project has three elements:

  1. Development of the National Water Market System website www.nationalwatermarket.gov.au
  2. Development of high performance state and territory water registers
  3. Seamless data transfer between water registers (interoperability).

The Australian Government is working closely with state and territory governments (who have statutory responsibility for water registers) to develop the National Water Market System. The NWMS is also overseen by a NWMS project group (which includes representatives from the Commonwealth, each state and territory, the National Water Commission and the Bureau of Meteorology).

The NWMS will take a number of years to develop. Once operational, the NWMS will provide online access to state and territory water register information that is up-to-date, accurate and in a consistent format between registers.