What began as an informal arrangement between neighbouring farmers, where one farm’s surplus water could be transferred to another, has over the past two decades morphed into a complex set of commodity markets whose annual turnover exceeds A$1.8 billion.
When the Murray–Darling Basin water markets were established, little consideration was given to training farmers or equipping them with the tools they would need.
“Many older farmers struggle even to use a smartphone,” one farmer told us in research for our book Sold Down The River, to be published this week. “They simply can’t use the water trading platforms.”
- ^ Sold Down The River (www.textpublishing.com.au)
- ^ The Big Short (youtu.be)
- ^ Competition and Consumer Commission (www.accc.gov.au)
- ^ The Murrumbidgee River's wet season height has dropped by 30% since the 1990s — and the outlook is bleak (theconversation.com)
- ^ dying rivers (www.smh.com.au)
- ^ Commonwealth Water Act (www.legislation.gov.au)
- ^ 2014 regulation (treasury.gov.au)
- ^ report (www.accc.gov.au)
- ^ Water injustice runs deep in Australia. Fixing it means handing control to First Nations (theconversation.com)
Authors: Scott Hamilton, Strategic Advisory Panel Member, Australian-German Energy Transition Hub, The University of Melbourne