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


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.

 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 31 December 2015. 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 31 December 2015
  SDL Resource Unit (Catchment) Entitlement Type Water Purchase Tenders - Entitlement
Water Purchase Tenders -
Average Annual Yield (ML)
Other Purchases - Average Annual Yield (1) Average price paid per trade ($/ML)(2)(3)
Northern Basin Condamine Balonne Unsupplemented 42,650 42,650   1,609
Overland Flow 10, 015 10,015   N/A
QLD Border Rivers Medium Priority 6,832 2,255   2,276
Unsupplemented 1,314 1,314   1,500
Barwon-Darling(1) Unregulated 16,215 16,215 8,362 807
Gwydir General security 88,520 31,867   2,239
Supplementary 19,100 3,629   1,045
Intersecting Streams(4) Unregulated     8,106 N/A
Macquarie-Castlereagh General security 57,631 24,205   1,268
Supplementary 1,888 396   161
Namoi General security 6,203 4,776   2,050
Southern Basin Lower Darling High security 397 333   N/A
General security 795 644   N/A
NSW Murrumbidgee High security 4,515 4,289   1,708
General security 188,840 120,857 1,105 907
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
ACT Murrumbidgee General Security     4,900 N/A
Broken High reliability 20 19   N/A
Low reliability 4 3   N/A
Campaspe High reliability 6,409 6,089   2,152
Low reliability 395 194   N/A
Goulburn High reliability 187,267 177,903 43,188 2,060
Low reliability 10,546 3,691 7,783 414
Loddon High reliability 2,775 2,636   1,781
Low reliability 527 142   200
Ovens High reliability 70 67   N/A
Vic Murray Above Choke - High reliability 57,664 54,780 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  
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 1,358,241 1,016,304 148,636  




All water recoveries figures are expressed in long term average annual yield (LTAAY) terms. Average annual yields are calculated using the current long-term diversion limit equivalent factors (v2.05) agreed to by Ministerial.

1. 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, water purchase from the Victorian Government relating to the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Program and water purchased from ACTEW Corporation (Australian Capital Territory).

2. 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.

3. Further information of pricing available at: Market price information for Murray-Darling Basin Water Entitlements

4. This data includes unregulated water entitlements acquired from the NSW Government relating to its purchase of Toorale Station. An additional new entitlement -  unregulated river special additional high flow entitlement for 9.720GL is part of the Intersecting Streams Unregulated and Alluvial water sharing plan, has been issued to the Commonwealth. 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.