Media statement: Water tender opens to Bridge the Gap under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

23 March 2023

Today the Australian Government has opened a voluntary tender process to begin buying 44.3 gigalitres of water to Bridge the Gap under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. The Government will also work with the ACT to recover 4.9GL. 


In total, around 49GL will be recovered to achieve the Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) under bridging the gap. 


Sustainable Diversion Limits refers to the amount of water that can be taken from the rivers for towns, farmers and industries whilst maintaining a healthy river environment. 


The opening of this tender marks an important step forward in delivering the Basin Plan. 


The Murray-Darling is Australia’s largest river system. It is critical that we restore the balance and return water to the environment so that communities have water to drink; farmers have water to grow food and fibre; and native plants and animals get the water they need to survive and flourish.


Tenders are invited from permanent water licence holders in six catchments across New South Wales and southern Queensland to contribute towards the remaining water to be recovered to bridge the gap. 


The voluntary tender process is open from 23 March 2023 until 5pm AEST on Friday 19 May 2023.


Interested water licence holders are encouraged to consult with their legal and financial advisors to support their tender application. 



Detailed guidance, specifications and supporting material is available in the water rights purchasing Approach to Market documents on AusTender –


Information on how to complete the tender application form, as well as more information on strategic water purchasing, can be found at



The targeted catchments for purchase are:


  • Queensland
           o    Condamine–Balonne catchment: 14.0 GL of surface water and 3.2 GL of groundwater
  • New South Wales
           o    NSW Murray catchment: 10.0 GL of surface water
           o    Namoi catchment: 9.5 GL of surface water
           o    NSW Border Rivers catchment: 5.1 GL of surface water
           o    Barwon–Darling catchment: 1.6 GL of surface water
           o    Lachlan catchment: 0.9 GL of surface water.


The Government will work with the ACT Government to deliver 4.9GL in this catchment.