Understanding water trade

Every year, water in our rivers and dams is bought and sold to meet the needs of towns, farms, industries and the environment.

People rely on rivers to provide water, amenity and other services. They are also home to a vast array of native wildlife that rely on water to feed, breed and move.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) manages a portfolio of water on behalf of the NSW Government to support the health of rivers and wetlands across the state.

Careful management of this water supports our unique native fish, water dependent wildlife and ecosystems.

To maximise the benefit for our rivers and meet some of the costs involved in managing this resource, the Department may choose to buy or sell water. The Department is a water user, not an investor – the only returns we’re after are healthier rivers and wetlands that are better able to support local communities.

Learn more about water trade frequently asked questions, water trade announcements and reporting and understanding carryover water.