Oceania saw the value of domestic watershed investment slip in recent years, as a change in Australia’s government hastened budget cuts for programs to restore water to the Murray-Darling Basin. But at a smaller scale, water quality trading and nascent municipal stormwater offset programs reported transacting nearly $1M in their first two years of operation.


At a Glance: Watershed Investment in 2014

  2011 2013
Operational programs 6 9
Programs in development 1 1
Value $174.6M $103M
Total land area managed for watershed services (hectares) Unknown 107,525
  • Spending by Oceania’s largest program, Restoring the Balance in the Murray-Darling, was cut roughly in half in 2013 from 2012 levels. That fall pulled down regional values dramatically along with it, from $160.8M in 2012 to $103M in 2013.
  • That drop masks growth in other areas. The Hunter River Salinity Trading program saw its biggest year to date in 2012, with credit prices roughly tripling since 2010 to an all-time high of $4,989 per credit. Total auction revenues in 2012 reached nearly $1.1M.
  • Municipalities and water service providers in Melbourne, Ispwich, and Beaudesert are beginning to experiment with new offset mechanisms to manage stormwater and other water quality challenges, transacting a reported $0.9M in 2013.
  • Altogether, nearly $1.4B has been committed between 2014 and 2020 for watershed investment programs in Australia, largely by the national government. But given a history of uneven spending patterns and political upheaval in recent years, it is unclear exactly when this money will be spent or whether commitments might change.

Related links

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace’s Watershed Connect Program Inventory: http://www.watershedconnect.org/programs

Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace’s State of Watershed Investment 2014 report, Chapter 10: http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/SOWI2014.pdf