Voluntary Water Purchasing Tender Launched to Bridge Gap

Dept of Climate Change, Energy, Environment & Water

The Australian Government has opened a tender on AusTender on 23 March 2023, to purchase permanent water rights in 6 catchments across New South Wales and southern Queensland to bridge the gap to the Sustainable Division Limits (SDLs) in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan).

Tender applications will close at 5pm (AEST) on Friday 19 May 2023.

This marks an important step forward in continuing to return water to the environment and delivering upon the Australian Government's commitment to deliver the Basin Plan in full.

Earlier this year, the Australian Government released the Strategic Water Purchasing Framework for 49.2GL - Bridging the Gap, which outlines the approach to bridge the remaining 49.2 gigalitre (GL) gap to achieve the SDLs set out in the basin plan.

The voluntary strategic water purchasing tender is open to willing water right owners to sell their permanent water rights in the following six catchments:


  • Condamine-Balonne: 14 GL of surface water and 3.2 GL of groundwater

New South Wales

  • NSW Murray: 10 GL of surface water
  • Namoi: 9.5 GL of surface water
  • NSW Border Rivers: 5.1 GL of surface water
  • Barwon-Darling: 1.6 GL of surface water
  • Lachlan: 0.9 GL of surface water

The 4.9 GL of surface water required to Bridge the Gap in the Australian Capital Territory is held by a retail operator owned by the ACT Government. The Australian Government will continue to work with the ACT Government to recover this water.

This purchasing activity is to deliver water against the 49.2GL Bridging the Gap target and the Australian Government is unable to consider offers of water rights outside the target areas as part of this tender process.

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