Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), Media Release, 13 April 2023
Water allocation prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin are likely to remain low for a fourth consecutive year, according to the latest ABARES Water Market Outlook.
ABARES Executive Director Dr Jared Greenville said based on the current climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), ABARES considers the average scenario to be the most likely, with prices expected to increase to $80 per ML across the southern basin in 2023–24, up from $29 per ML in 2022 23.
This compares to an average annual price of $218 per ML over the last 10 years.
“The run of La Nina years is set to come to an end, with the BOM reporting a 50 percent chance of an El Nino event developing in 2023–24,” Dr Greenville said.
“However, the shift to drier conditions is likely to be offset by high storages that have been built up over the past three years.
“High opening allocations and an exceptional allocation outlook for 2023–24 will translate into high water availability and provide a lot of certainty for irrigators making planting and water management decisions.
“Low water allocation prices and high water availability will continue to support irrigated agricultural production in 2023–24.”
The latest ABARES Water Market Outlook and accompanying dashboard visualisation can be accessed online.