Scaling Next Generation Water Markets in Northern Australia

Scaling Next Generation Water Markets in Northern Australia
  • Reference # A.7.2122001
  • Project Status Current
  • Timeframe 1 year
  • Project manager Ian Biggs
  • CRCNA Funding $250,000.00
  • Total project value $497,610.00
  • Project research participant Mareeba District & Vegetable Growers Association Incorporated (FNQ Growers)
  • Research Programs 7. Informing policy development
  • Location Mareeba
  • Water
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture
  • Strategic policy development


This project will explore the interconnectedness between water market design and institutional governance goals to address water security and social equity issues relating to water access. It will do so by seeking to address the question: How can investor confidence be enhanced through a grower-led transformation of Northern Australia’s emerging water markets?

Research leads, Civic Ledger will explore the design of next generation rules to manage future uncertainty and deliver water security across Northern Australia. It will do so by leveraging the Improving Water Markets and Trading through New Digital Technologies  research, published in December 2020, and other related research to understand linkages between enabling institutions and water market design.

In parallel, Civic Ledger will test the paradigm of next generation water markets at scale by moving the Mareeba-Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme (MDWSS) in the Atherton Tablelands, far north Queensland, to its blockchain-enabled water market and trading platform – Water Ledger. In doing so, MDWSS will create “a strategic research test-bed” that has applicability across Northern Australia for real time continuous water accounting and trading to evaluate and validate the linkages between transparent governance frameworks and the design of next generation water markets.

Expected outcomes

The direct impact of this strategic investment to move MDWSS to Water Ledger is expected to be felt at grower level. The indirect impact of this strategic investment will be rethinking the way water markets are designed and its governance here in Australia and globally.

The Project will analyse and report on several metrics including:

  • Direct measures – market participation rates/liquidity (as compared to status quo), market value of trades (as compared to status quo), positive sentiments of Water Ledger users
  • Indirect measures – lessons learned, extension opportunities
  • Status of the outputs against the pre agreed success criteria
  • Metrics representing the adoption of the platform
  • Financial metrics of the Project
  • ‘Lessons Learned’ or areas which can be improved upon for future projects
  • Other business areas which may benefit from blockchain technology i.e., supply chains, tropical health, credentials.


11 December 2020

Improving water markets and trading through new digital technologies

Type: Report

Industry: Horticulture, Strategic policy development