Strategic water purchasing tender now open
A tender is now open for Strategic water rights purchasing of 44.3 gigalitres per year (GL/y) by the Australian Government to deliver the Murray Darling Basin Plan on AusTender.
Read media release – Water tender opens to Bridge the Gap under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan
The Australian Government is seeking tender responses that offer water rights for purchase in 6 catchments across New South Wales and southern Queensland through a competitive, open and transparent tender.
These catchments are:
- Condamine–Balonne: 14 GL/y of surface water and 3.2 GL/y of groundwater
New South Wales
- NSW Murray: 10 GL/y of surface water
- Namoi: 9.5 GL/y of surface water
- NSW Border Rivers: 5.1 GL/y of surface water
- Barwon–Darling: 1.6 GL/y of surface water
- Lachlan: 0.9 GL/y of surface water
The tender process closes 5pm (AEST) on 19 May 2023.
The Commonwealth has not engaged any firms or other third parties to act on its behalf to acquire water rights. All tender responses must be made through AusTender.
Please note: The Australian Government is unable to consider offers of water rights outside the target areas as part of this open tender process.
In addition to this tender, the Government will work with the ACT Government to recover 4.9GL/y.
Recovering a remaining water volume of 49.2 GL/y is required to Bridge the Gap to the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) set out in the Basin Plan.
Strategic Water Purchasing Framework for 49.2 GL/y – Bridging the Gap
The Australian Government is committed to delivering the Murray–Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan) in full. The Basin Plan is considered vitally important for the economic and environmental sustainability of the whole Murray–Darling Basin (Basin) and to assist communities, industries and the environment to survive through a changing climate, including droughts, which are predicted to occur more often and with greater severity.
The Strategic Water Purchasing Framework (Framework) and supporting strategic water purchasing – bridging the gap factsheet sets out the Australian Government’s approach to bridging the remaining 49.2 GL/y gap to achieve the SDLs.
Read media release – Bridging the Gap under the Murray-Darling Basin plan
Snapshots of the 7 basin catchments are available, which reflect what the Australian Government heard prior to the publication of the Framework, including over several years in some cases.
Stakeholder engagement following release of the Strategic Purchasing Framework
Throughout March 2023, the Department held 9 information sessions in 8 locations with key stakeholders in the 6 catchments across the Murray–Darling Basin that are included in the tender for the Bridging the Gap target.
Locations included Deniliquin, Forbes, St George, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba, Narrabri, Walgett and Bourke. All information sessions were completed before the tender process opened on 23 March 2023.
Invitations were sent to key stakeholders who could provide a strong representation of community views and were able to share information with their communities. Smaller groups allowed everyone to have a voice and share their views during the information sessions. A waitlist was created to provide as many opportunities as possible within the limitations of venue capacity.
We did not invite journalists to attend the information sessions. This was to enable free-flowing conversations and open discussion. We provided separate briefing opportunities to media, as well as information resources.
A video presentation is available below, which provides the same information as the sessions for anyone who was unable to attend in person.
Video transcript - Strategic water purchasing to Bridge the Gap (DOCX 92.5 KB)
The presentation slides that were shown at the information sessions are available below.
Strategic water purchasing to bridge the gap – March 2023 - presentation slides (PDF 525 KB)
Strategic water purchasing to bridge the gap – March 2023 - presentation slides (PPTX 657 KB)
What we heard
You can read a summary of what we heard during the 9 information sessions. A report outlining what we heard during this engagement will be published shortly.
Overview of the water purchasing process
Tender applications opened on 23 March 2023 through the AusTender website.
The tender closing date has been established as 19 May 2023. This date follows feedback from the stakeholder engagement sessions and will allow more time for applications to be completed and submitted.
Tender application support material
To view the Strategic water rights purchasing of 44.3 GL/y by the Australian Government to deliver Murray Darling Basin Plan tender, go to AusTender and search for “water rights purchasing”.
You need to log in to AusTender to access the tender documents. If you don’t yet have an AusTender account, you can create one for free. For assistance with AusTender, please contact the AusTender Help desk on 1300 651 698, Email: email@example.com or visit the AusTender Help and Information webpage.
Answers to a range of questions you may have about the tender process, or your application, can be found in the tender documents. Responses to questions asked throughout the tender process will be published as addenda on AusTender.
Video transcript - How-to-guide to submit a tender for the strategic water rights purchasing tender (DOCX 88.7 KB)
Strategic Water Rights Purchasing Tender Factsheet (PDF 463 KB)
Strategic Water Rights Purchasing Tender Factsheet (DOCX 468 KB)
If you are a water right owner in the target catchments and are interested in selling your water rights on a permanent basis to the Australian Government, you should consult with any co-owners about participating in the tender process. You are also encouraged to consult with your legal and financial advisors to start gathering relevant information to support your tender application.
- The tender process will ask for details about the water rights you would like to offer, including the volume and the price at which you are prepared to sell your water rights on a permanent basis to the Australian Government.
- You will need to include a copy of your water right, evidence of ownership as well as have secured approval of all water right owner prior to submitting your tender.
The Australian Government will consider offers through a competitive procurement process. The value for money of each offer will be assessed. Value for money includes consideration of financial and non-financial aspects, including the environmental utility of the water right.
More detailed guidance, specifications and supporting material is available on AusTender.
Options for other feasible projects
In addition to strategic water purchases to achieve the Bridging the Gap target, the Australian Government continues to welcome feasible proposals for other projects, such as efficiency projects, that can be delivered by June 2024.
Water for Australia plan outlined in the 2022–23 Budgets - DCCEEW
Contact us for more information on the framework or tender for strategic water purchasing in the Murray-Darling Basin.