Annual Water Auction 2019

Held Friday 10th May 2019 @ 2:30pm - Davidge Pavilion
Riverina Field Days, Griffith NSW

2019 Auction Results

The Annual Water Auction was held on Friday 10th May 2019 at the Riverina Field Days.

There was a large turnout with over 400 people attending the Auction. With the outlook of very low allocations for the 2019/2020 season, irrigators were keen to find out 'what is water worth?'. Very topical at the moment, with Four Corners sending an ABC film crew to film on the day.

Heavy rain at Griffith on Friday dampened the buyer’s enthusiasm for Temporary Water for the current season and Forward Water for the 2019/2020 season.

A 10ML permanent parcel of Lachlan General Security sold at $1,020/ML.

Permanent Murrumbidgee High Security was sold at $7,000/ML and a Murrumbidgee Irrigation Category 6 - Stock and Domestic parcel made $5,900/ML. A 48ML Murrumbidgee General Security permanent entitlement achieved $2,000/ML.

Mid Murrumbidgee Zone 3 Alluvial Groundwater achieved $2,000/ML at auction, a record price with a recent sale at only $1,200/ML.

Lachlan Fold Belt MDB Groundwater was sold after Auction at $600/ML.

Temporary Lower Lachlan Groundwater made $200/ML. Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 2 sold at $280/ML and forward Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 3 was sold at $250/ML.

A physical auction is a transparent platform to ascertain where the water market sits. It is a very healthy process to inform both buyers and sellers of expectations and reality.

The following is a list of water available for sale - please contact Wilks Water for further details.

Permanent NSW Groundwater

200ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 3

300ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 2

300ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 1

130ML - Lachlan Fold Belt MDB Groundwater

128ML - Gundagai Alluvial Groundwater

200ML - Orange Basalt Groundwater

200ML - Young Granite Groundwater

20ML - Goulburn Fractured Rock

Permanent Lachlan General Security

717ML - Upper Lachlan Regulated River

615ML - Upper Lachlan Regulated River

400ML - Lower Lachlan Regulated River

1000ML - Lower Lachlan Regulated River

Permanent Murrumbidgee High Security

80ML - Murrumbidgee Irrigation

50ML - Murrumbidgee Irrigation

220ML - Murrumbidgee Irrigation

NSW Murray 

300ML - High Security Zone 10

321ML - General Security Zone 10

175ML - Lower Murray Shallow Groundwater

Victoria Murray

421.5ML - Goulburn 1A Low Reliability

Temporary Water 

2000ML - Murrumbidgee Irrigation from $550/ML - can be transferred to NSW Murray before 31st May 2019

734ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 3 at $220/ML

2000ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 2 at $280/ML

6510ML - Murrumbidgee Supplementary at $5/ML

Forward Surface Water

3000ML - Murrumbidgee at $615/ML

1250ML - NSW Murray Zone 10 at $615/ML

Forward Groundwater

1500ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 3 at $250/ML

2000ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 2 at $280/ML

Forward Supplementary

5000ML - Murrumbidgee River - Downstream of Gogeldrie at $55/ML

Carryover Capacity / Parking 

400ML - Murrumbidgee Irrigation (Holder Risk) at $30/ML

2000ML - Murrumbidgee Regulated River (Placer Risk) at $10/ML

1000ML - Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater Zone 3 at $10/ML

1000ML - Lower Lachlan Groundwater at $20/ML

Delivery Entitlements for Permanent Sale

100ML      Leeton Area (within Murrumbidgee Irrigation Licence)

*Most parcels can be split to meet buyer requirements.

Permanent Water Wanted

Murrumbidgee Valley - General Security - Up to 2000ML or in smaller parcels @ $1,950/ML

Lower Lachlan Groundwater - all offers to sell considered - Keen buyer (last sale @ $300/ML)

Recent rains have changed the outlook from gloom and despair to a bit of hope. Particularly for graziers who now have a short green pick for livestock. These rain events have had little to no effect on storage levels but have resulted in a softening of temporary prices. Is this the start of a wet year where temporary prices will continue to fall? Or is it a dip in the market, a chance to buy temporary water for production at a discount to the current market. 

Without a lot of rain, the chances of any meaningful General Security Allocations in NSW are slim. It is worth noting in the coming season, temporary forward water will be able to be traded from the Murrumbidgee to irrigators in the Murray River in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Murrumbidgee Irrigators should be aware that the reverse is not allowable and as water leaves the Murrumbidgee System, temporary water availability will be reduced.

Permanent water prices have risen strongly over the past two years resulting in few sellers - 'why sell now when it will be dearer next week'. Increasingly, large corporates and institutional investors have been strong buyers. Overtime, ownership of water entitlements is being concentrated to owners who are 'buy and hold', meaning these entitlements are unlikely to be resold anytime soon. This is being reflected in temporary water prices, a good example is Lower Murrumbidgee Groundwater prices. Temporary water traded up to $300/ML this season. Last season saw prices at $30-50/ML as the norm.

There was only one permanent trade of Lower Lachlan Groundwater last season at $2,000/ML. This season, again only one trade but at $3,000/ML.  I believe irrigators need to consider securing future production with their own permanent water. Unlike Woolworths, temporary water may not always be available on the shelf when needed at all or of it is, the asking price may be prohibitive. 

For all water related matters please call the Wilks Water office on 02 6931 8522 or Tom on 0428 694 608.