Contemporary irrigation trends and drivers in the southern Murray-Darling Basin


Focuses on providing insight into what impact contemporary irrigation trends and drivers are having in the sMDB now and what impacts are likely to be felt into the future for the sustainability and competitiveness different rural industries. The project will provide RIRDC with the knowledge and information on a pressing issue in the sMDB, and proactively inform the debate on issues of strategic importance for irrigated agriculture. The project will use a mixture of literature review, consultation in the sMDB and analysis of collected data to improve knowledge and awareness among industry and policy makers regarding: how irrigated agriculture is changing and why the ways in which water markets are contributing to or helping manage this how current or emerging issues may impact different industries, and possible responses or approaches industry or policy makers may take to manage these issues.


National Rural Issues

Research Organisation

Aither Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

The objectives of this research project are: 1) Assess changes to the composition of irrigated industries and demand for water in the southern MurrayDarling Basin to improve understanding about the potential impact on production and competitiveness of different industries. 2) Investigate the relationship between rising water prices in the southern MurrayDarling Basin and different industry pricethresholds for water purchases to better understand the future sustainability of different industries. 3) Draw together sources of currently disparate knowledge held by individual industries and irrigation corporations in the southern MurrayDarling Basin to develop a more comprehensive picture of key risks and issues for policy makers and governments to be aware of and seek to manage. 4) Highlight the importance of Australia's robust water markets as a significant competitive advantage for rural industries. 5) Develop a body of knowledge about contemporary changes to agricultural production and water demand in the southern MurrayDarling Basin that will allow RIRDC to communicate information critical to rural industry strategic decision making over the coming decade.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Friday, October 16, 2015

Project Completion Date

Friday, January 29, 2016

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Soil, water and managing natural resources

National Priority

NRI-National Rural Issues