Progress of water recovery under the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program

The Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program is a component of the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program.

The aim of the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin (RtB) program is to provide more water for the environment, which can be used to protect and restore Basin river systems and wetlands. To date, the RtB program has secured the purchase of more than 4,500 individual trades.

The information in the table below has been updated to reflect the details of purchases secured through exchanged contracts recorded as at 30 June 2014. Further updates will be made as additional contracts are exchanged.

The table summarises the water purchases made through the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin program, including the purchase of Toorale Station (Barwon-Darling and Warrego catchment) water entitlements.  Some points to note regarding this purchase information are:

  • It is not possible to gauge the average annual volume of water that will be recovered in each catchment by just considering the entitlement volumes that have been purchased as the long term average water yield varies across both catchments and entitlement types. To account for these variations in yield, estimates are also provided of the annual volume of water that is expected to be available for environmental use, for each entitlement type in each catchment. These figures are calculated using the Department's estimates of long term average annual yield, as advised in the Murray-Darling Basin Ministers' Communiqué of 4 November 2011.
  • Average price paid per trade is calculated over the life of the program. Information on average prices paid in the most recent tenders can be accessed on the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin page. The difference between the average price over the life of the program and prices paid in the most recent tenders is due to changes in market conditions while the program has been operating.
Purchases Secured under the Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling Basin Program as at 30 June 2014
  SDL Resource Unit (Catchment) Entitlement Type Water Purchase Tenders - Entitlement
(ML) (4)
Water Purchase Tenders -
Average Annual Yield (ML) (4)
Other Purchases - Average Annual Yield (2) Average price paid per trade ($/ML)(3)(5)
Northern Basin Gwydir General security 88,520 31,867   2,239
Supplementary 19,100 3,629   1,045
Condamine Balonne Unsupplemented 38,125 38,125   1,622
Intersecting Streams(1) Unregulated     8,106 N/A
Namoi General security 6,203 4,776   2,050
Macquarie-Bogan General security 57,631 24,205   1,268
Supplementary 1,888 396   161
QLD Border Rivers Medium Priority 6,832 2,255   2,276
Unsupplemented 1,314 1,314   1,500
Barwon-Darling(1) Unregulated 14,603 14,603 7,672 807
Southern Basin Ovens High reliability 70 67   N/A
Goulburn High reliability 186,881 177,537 43,188 2,060
Low reliability 10,546 3,691 7,783 414
Broken High reliability 20 19   N/A
Low reliability 4 3   N/A
Loddon High reliability 2,775 2,636   1,781
Low reliability 527 142   200
Campaspe High reliability 6,409 6,089   2,152
Low reliability 395 194   N/A
Murrumbidgee High security 4,515 4,289   1,708
General security 188,840 120,857   907
Supplementary 20,820 2,915   218
NSW Murray Above Choke - General security 199,100 161,271 1,597 1,131
Below Choke - General security 52,202 42,284   1,087
Below Choke - High security 15,069 14,315   1,901
Vic Murray Above Choke - High reliability 57,600 54,720 15,790 1,931
Above Choke - Low reliability 5,593 1,342 2,354 196
Below Choke - High reliability 171,078 162,524 28,936 2,067
Below Choke - Low reliability 5,451 1,308 3,947 202
SA Murray High security 95,933 86,340   1,985
Lower Darling High security 397 333   N/A
General security 795 644   N/A
Disconnected Tributaries Lachlan High security 733 733   N/A
General security 81,671 34,302   684
Wimmera-Mallee Supply by Agreement     22,568 N/A
  TOTAL   1,341,639 999,724 141,941  




The data include some adjustments to previously reported information as a result of quality assurance checks on program data.

All figures in this table are calculated using the Department of the Environment estimates of the long term average annual yield (LTAAY) for each entitlement. It was advised in the Murray-Darling Basin Ministers' Communique of 4 November 2011 that these would be used to determine how much of the 'gap' between the Baseline Diversion Limit (BDL) and the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDL) has been 'bridged'.

(1) This data includes unregulated water entitlements acquired from the NSW Government relating to its purchase of Toorale Station. Under the NSW Intersecting Streams Unregulated and Alluvial water sharing plan, an additional entitlement has been issued to the Commonwealth - an unregulated river special additional high flow entitlement. This is a new class of entitlement and requires advice regarding the LTAAY of this entitlement from the MDBA and NSW Government. The yield to this entitlement has not been included in the water recovery estimates presented in this table.

(2) Other Purchases include water purchased from the Wimmera and Murray Irrigation Irrigator Led Group Proposals, water acquired from the New South Wales Government relating to its purchase of Toorale Station and the water purchase from the Victorian Government relating to the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Program.

(3) The average price paid per trade does not include water purchases from 'Other Purchase Initiatives - Average Annual Yield (ML)' and displays N/A where there are less than 5 trades.

(4) Condamine Balonne - the Commonwealth has purchased 10GL of overland flow entitlement which contributes to 'bridging the gap', but this recovery is not shown in the table because there is currently no long term diversion limit equivalent factor available to estimate the long term average annual yield (LTAAY) recovery volume for this entitlement.

(5)Further information of pricing available at: Market price information for Murray-Darling Basin Water Entitlements