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Keywords:

  • water entitlements;
  • Murray-Darling Basin;
  • irrigators;
  • economic impacts

This study provides the key results from a survey of water entitlement sellers to the Commonwealth's Restoring the Balance programme. At the start of 2012, the programme was a third of the way to achieving the current environmental water target. A large-scale survey of water sellers found that 60 per cent of respondents had sold some water and kept farming; 30 per cent sold all water and left farming; and 10 per cent sold all water and continued farming. The majority were compelled to sell water because of debt and cash flow issues, but many used the sale as an opportunity to restructure and achieve other objectives. Half of the respondents who continued farming said selling water had no farm production consequences.