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Water markets enable people to buy, sell or trade their water rights.

Water market participants may be:

  • irrigators
  • businesses
  • government bodies
  • Traditional Owners
  • any Victorian or Australian organisations across agriculture, the environment and commercial enterprise.

Rules are in place that help ensure water markets are fair and efficient. These rules are part of Victoria’s broader water entitlement framework.

The Victorian Water Register contains key information about Victorian water markets and tradeable water rights.

Progress on key initiatives to improve water markets

Victoria has taken action to help ensure Victorian water market settings are right.

Goulburn to Murray trade review

The Victorian government completed a review of the Goulburn-to-Murray trade rules in 2022. These rules govern how water can be traded from the Goulburn system to the Murray system.

The Minister for Water finalised the review and introduced long-term trade and operating rules in June 2022.

Improving market confidence

Improved water market confidence is a priority of the Victorian Government.

We support market confidence by providing water users with clear and accurate information to help them make informed decisions. We also monitor market behaviour. These activities help us gain insight into ways we can improve confidence.

Insights show the importance of accessing better price, market power and behaviour information.

Market and transparency data is available on the Victorian Water Register website. On that website you can access data and information on:

  • allocation trades and water market prices
  • available water, including seeing how much water is available to whom and where
  • trade opportunities, including information on how inter-valley trade limits work and available trading opportunities.

Find out more about water market insights.

Managing take and use licences

A take and use licence is a fixed-term entitlement to take and use water from a water source. This includes a waterway, catchment dam, spring, soak or aquifer.

Each licence is subject to conditions set by the Minister of Water and specified on the licence.

A set of policies guide issuance and management of take and use licences. This includes the issue and trade of groundwater licences.

DEECA are currently reviewing Take the Use licensing policy.

Place of take approvals

Victoria is introducing a new approach to water delivery entitlements in declared systems. This new approach will protect existing water users’ rights to take water during the rare event of river rationing and empower water users to manage their own delivery risks.

This new Place of Take Approvals framework is due to come into effect in the 2023–24 water year.

Read more about this new framework at the Victorian Water Register.

Page last updated: 08/09/23