Surface water purchasing – open tender

The Australian Government has been purchasing water for the environment and to assist with bridging the gap to the sustainable diversion limits in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan 2012, since 2008. Sustainable diversion limits limit how much water can be used in the Basin by towns and communities, farmers and industries, while keeping the rivers and environment healthy.

Between 2008 and 2015, the department held approximately 30 open tenders to purchase surface water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The department also held 6 open tenders to purchase groundwater entitlements.

During an open tender, the department publishes an open approach to market and inviting applications to sell water entitlements to the government.

Open tenders are a transparent and competitive method of purchasing. However, the department can use limited tenders to target specific entitlements. This helps to achieve multiple objectives. See the limited tender process and purchases.

The Commonwealth Procurement Rules are the basic rule set for all Commonwealth procurements, including open tenders. These rules are set by the Minister for Finance and can change from time to time.

Summary of surface water open tenders

Total value of tenders ($AUD):  2.6 billion

Total volume: 1,670 gigalitres (nominal) or 1,267 gigalitres (LTAAY)

Tender name Tender period
2007-08 All of Murray-Darling Basin 27 February 2008 - 16 May 2008
2008-09 Northern Basin 15 September 2008 - 30 June 2009
2008-09 Southern connected Murray River system 15 September 2008 - 30 June 2009
2009-10 Southern connected Murray River system Round 1 11 January 2010 - 29 January 2010
2009-10 Southern connected Murray River system Round 2 9 March 2010 - 29 March 2010
2009-10 Southern connected Murray River system Round 3 3 May 2010 - 21 May 2010
2009-10 Northern Basin Round 1 22 March 2010 - 21 May 2010
2010-11 Northern Basin Round 1 22 November 2010 - 10 December 2010
2010-11 Southern connected Murray River system Round 1 22 November 2010 - 10 December 2010
2010-11 Southern connected Murray River system Round 2 21 February 2011 - 4 March 2011
2010-11 Southern connected Murray River system Round 3 28 March 2011 - 8 April 2011
2010-11 Northern Basin Round 2 28 March 2011 - 15 April 2011
2010-11 Southern connected Murray River system Round 4 2 May 2011 - 13 May 2011
2010-11 Northern Basin Round 3 6 June 2011 - 24 June 2011
2010-11 Southern connected Murray River system Round 5 6 June 2011 - 17 June 2011
2011-12 Northern Basin Round 1 26 September 2011 - 21 October 2011
2011-12 Northern Basin Round 2 17 October 2011 - 11 November 2011
2011-12 Northern Basin Round 3 14 November 2011 - 9 December 2011
2011-12 Southern connected Murray River system EoI/Targeted Initiative2 27 February 2012 - 23 March 2012 (select tender process 16-27 April 2012)
2012-13 Northern Basin Round 1 19 November 2012 - 14 December 2012
2012-13 Northern Basin Round 2 4 February 2013 - 22 February 2013
2012-13 Strategic Purchase Initiative in Victoria (Round 1) 18 March 2013 - 21 June 2013
2012-13 Northern Basin Round 3 22 April 2013 - 24 May 2013
2012-13 Southern NSW (Round 1) 29 April 2013 - 10 May 2013
2013-14 Southern NSW (Round 2 and 3) 5 August 2013 – 23 August 2013
9 April 2014 – 28 April 2014
2013-14 Strategic Purchase Initiative in Victoria FY Round 1 and 2 (Overall Round 2 and 3) 5 August 2013 – 6 December 2013
3 February 2014 – 20 June 2014
2013-14 Northern Basin 17 February 2014 – 14 March 2014
2014-15 Northern Basin 30 September 2014 - 30 October 2014
2014-15 NSW Southern Basin 25 November 2014 – 10 April 2015
2015 Barwon-Darling Unregulated River Water Source 4 June 2015 – 6 July 2015

Notes:

1. Allow for minor rounding

2. This was a 2 stage initiative involving an expression of interest period, with eligible irrigators then being invited to participate in a tender process. The tender focussed on acquiring entitlements held outside of shared irrigation delivery networks.

Prices of offers accepted in open water purchase tenders

Previously the department has publicly released the average prices of offers accepted for the purchase of water entitlements through open tender. This provided transparency and assisted water entitlement owners who may have considered selling water in the future. This information can still be accessed at webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20191115082623/https://www.agriculture.gov.au/water/markets/commonwealth-water-mdb/average-prices

Last reviewed: 15 July 2020
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