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Macalister Irrigation Area Water Market Transparency

The Water Market Transparency project is an initiative of Southern Rural Water to better understand the barriers to water trade in the Macalister Irrigation Area, and is financially supported by the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

The project sought to ask the following key questions to help gather intelligence and inform solutions:

  • Do Macalister Irrigation Area customers want to trade water?
  • What is stopping customers from trading water?
  • What would help customers to trade water?

Engagement with customers led to Southern Rural Water deciding on an online water trading platform as its solution – known as Southern Rural Water Exchange – in partnership with Water Partners, who will deliver and operate the platform.

Engaging with customers

The Water Market Transparency project involved a thorough process of customer consultation, using different engagement methods.

It kicked off with a customer survey in 2021 and following the choice of Southern Rural Water Exchange as the new trading platform, included a detailed engagement and communications campaign:

  • Southern Rural Water Exchange information pack, mailed out to over 1000 customers.
  • Drop-in session at our Maffra office to discuss the new platform.
  • Webinar, hosted online by Southern Rural Water and Water Partners staff.
  • Social media promoting use of Southern Rural Water Exchange.
  • Water Partners attendance at Farm World in March 2024 to promote Southern Rural Water Exchange to potential customers.

In addition to customer-to-customer trading, Southern Rural Water Exchange also facilitates direct Southern Rural Water to customer sales, and online auctions.

The first trade using the new platform was facilitated on Wednesday, 27 September 2023 – 79 megalitres of temporary season allocation was traded.

The Water Market Transparency in the Macalister Irrigation Area summary report is available here.