Water is essential to a strong economy, both for communities within the Murray–Darling Basin and for Australia as a whole. The Basin sustains jobs for a wide range of industries, including agriculture.
Australia is a major agricultural producer. We have a long farming industry history. Our products are diverse and range from cotton and wool to fruit, meat and nuts.
Visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for information on how land in Australia is used for agriculture.
Growing things like rice, grapes, cotton and milk need more water more reliably than natural rain can deliver. The Basin supports over 8,000 irrigated agriculture businesses.
Water reform in the Murray–Darling Basin
A healthy Basin is vital for secure food and fibre production now and into the future. Basin governments, irrigators and communities have been working together to improve the sustainability of water management in the .
State and territory governments allocate their water within each catchment based on their state laws. This includes managing water for households, irrigators, industries, culture, and our environment. The Basin Plan 2012 exists to ensure there is enough water left for the environment.
The available water must be managed carefully to meet the needs of all users in Australia.
There have been calls to access water held by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder under some circumstances. Diverting environmental water to agricultural production is not an option. Water purchased for the environment can only be used to directly support the health of floodplains, rivers and wetlands. It cannot be given away or borrowed.
Reallocating water from one sector to another would undermine the water market. Diverting environmental water won't create any new water.
Resources for the agriculture industry
The Australian Government has a range of programs to assist farmers and irrigators to manage water. Visit our Implementing the Plan page for information on programs and funding.
The Bureau of Meteorology provides weather forecasts for agriculture. Visit their Water and the Land page for current information on rainfall, wind and frost forecasts.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides programs and services to manage and recover from risks such as:
- natural disasters
- market disruptions.
Visit their Drought, disaster and rural support page for more information.