Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2010-2011 Contents Managing our water more effectively is one of
the greatest challenges facing Australia.
The National Water Commission is responsible
for driving national water reform under the
National Water Initiative (NWI) - Australia’s
blueprint for how water will be managed into
The Commission provides advice to
the Council of Australian Governments
(COAG) and the Australian Government
on national water issues and reports on
progress towards meeting the water reform
commitments agreed by the Australian,
state and territory governments.
The Commission also prepares reports
and position statements on specific
water management issues.
Water markets and trading
In its recently released report, Strengthening
Australia’s water markets, the Commission
called on governments to continue to
work on opening up access to trading
and improving market performance.
Australia’s water trade is a centrepiece of
national water reform and has become
a multi-billion dollar market since the
first reported trades in the 1980s.
The ability to trade water, largely in the
Murray-Darling Basin, has delivered
real benefits to irrigators, regional
communities and the environment.
It has provided individual water users and
water dependant industries with much
needed flexibility to adjust to commodity
pressures and climatic variability.
The report found that there are
opportunities to deliver further benefits,
especially in areas where markets are
developing or are yet to be developed.
The Commission believes that improved
transparency and information are
needed to reduce complexity and
speed up trade approvals.
Faster trades are critical for many
producers, as it enables them to get
water when they need it most.
Better information about prices would
encourage market participation and
deliver more efficient transactions.
Market confidence would be boosted
by improving the business practices of
water market intermediaries and the way
that conflicts of interest are handled.
There is also scope to develop new
water markets outside the Murray-
Darling Basin and to encourage the
developing trade in groundwater.
The Commission also released a companion
report, Australian Water Markets: trends
and drivers, 2007-08 to 2009-10.
This publication analyses market trends
as well as the drivers influencing market
outcomes, based on three years of data
contained in the Commission’s annual
Australian water markets reports.
The Commission believes that staying
the course on market reforms will extend
the benefits of water trading to even
more individuals and communities.
Improving the performance of
Each year the Commission releases reports
on the performance of Australia’s urban water
utilities and rural water service providers.
These annual report cards provide important
benchmarks that allow consumers to make
informed judgments about whether their water
needs are being efficiently and sustainably met.
The National Performance Report 2009–10: rural
water service providers prepared in conjunction
with state governments, covers thirteen rural
water service providers representing 90%
of Australia’s rural network water supply.
It found that water infrastructure in regional
Australia is being transformed, largely through
the progressive piping of open channel
carrier networks, which is improving water
delivery efficiency and reducing water losses.
Investments in infrastructure renewal are
paying off. They have contributed to the
highest level of gravity irrigation network
Advancing Australia’s rural water interests
The National Water Commission
delivery efficiency achieved by the industry
since reporting began in 2006–07.
Profitability for rural water providers is also
showing signs of improvement, reflecting
increased water availability across the industry.
Water in our cities and towns
The Commission has also taken a look at
urban water issues and called for Australian
governments to consider new directions
to reinvigorate the way we manage water
in our cities and towns in its Urban water
in Australia: future directions report.
Even though drought has eased in many parts
of the country, Australia’s urban water industry
still faces significant challenges including
climate variability, population growth, rising
costs, and ageing network infrastructure.
Incentives are needed to encourage
utilities to invest not only in securing water
supply, but also in more innovative, cost-
effective and fit-for-purpose services.
This includes distribution networks
and the treatment of water,
wastewater and stormwater.
All National Water Commission reports
are available at www.nwc.gov.au.
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