Australian government cash to develop water market

The Australian government will invest $1.25 million (£500,000) in developing water markets as part of ongoing work to shore up supply in the face of drought.

Malcolm Turnbull, minister for Environment and Water Resources, made the announcement alongside the release of a National Water Commission (NWC) report into the regulation of the country’s water market.

He said the money would be used for “a package of projects to assist with the operation of efficient water markets” aimed at cutting transaction costs.

The NWC Waterlines report is entitled Improving Market Confidence in Water Intermediaries.

It investigates the conduct of market intermediaries, including water brokers and online exchanges to assess whether they are “adequately regulated”.

The report is the latest in a series commissioned by the NWC to examine key water issues.

Drought has forced record water prices and prompted debate over the need for effective water markets and secure trading practices.

“Given that about 80 percent of trades are assisted by intermediaries, their conduct is critical to the continued expansion of water markets,” said Mr Turnbull.

“The report notes the protection provided by existing consumer protection legislation is adequate but recommends measures to improve confidence in intermediaries including accelerating market reforms and streamlining trade practices.

“The findings of the report will inform governments as they consider what action should be taken to improve water markets.”

The NWC is driving Australian water reform and advising federal and state governments on water issues.

For the full report visit the National Water Commission website at

David Gibbs

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