Impacts of Water Trade in the Murray Valley

Institute staff were part of a consortium of researchers contracted to undertake this study including Frontier Economics, Tim Cummins and Associates and Alistair Watson.

Water trading in Australia was developed to facilitate efficient use of an increasingly scarce resource by enabling water to move to more highly valued uses. An open and robust water market was expected to benefit individuals, communities and the economy generally. Yet from the beginning, a number of concerns were expressed about the economic and social impacts of water trade. This study sought to differentiate between the impacts of water trade, and the changes resulting from other influences on irrigators, industries and communities in regions where water trading is most prevalent - the Victorian side of the Murray. Interviews were conducted with 33 farmers and 112 community residents in the regions of Sunraysia, Rochester, Central Goulburn, Kerang-Cohuna and Pyramid-Boort. Institute staff were responsible for undertaking a literature review of social impacts of water trade; the field consultation and analysis of the social impacts for individuals and communities; and testing the validity of assumed benefits and perceived concerns of water trading.

Related publications

Impacts of Water Trade in the Murray Valley - Project Brochure
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The Economic and Social Impacts of Water Trading - Summary of Findings
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Completed in 2008

Funded by: Murray Darling Basin Authority; National Water Commission; Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Contact: The Institute for Rural Futures