2023 Aither Water Markets Report

2022-23 Review and 2023-24 Outlook

Make better decisions

Aither is a Ricardo company whose purpose is to help governments and businesses make better decisions about globally significant issues.

Water Policy & Management

Driving the design and implementation of best practice water policy

Water Utilities & Infrastructure

Providing practical advice on complex issues

Water Markets

Market-leading information, insights and analysis

Resilience and Adaptation

Providing decision-makers with the information required to make sound investments

  • Completed 1,000+ projects

    & 300+ clients

  • Global projects delivered

    in 15 countries

  • Certified

    B-Corporation

  • TNFD Forum

    member

  • Completed 1,000+ projects

    & 300+ clients

  • Global projects delivered

    in 15 countries

  • Certified

    B-Corporation

  • TNFD Forum

    member

Our global team and impact

Aither’s team works around the world to support decision makers to navigate complexity. We work on critical issues with global impact, and understand the need to scale up solutions for impact.

Meet our leading advisors that
specialize in

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Will Fargher
Director
Ryan Gormly
Associate Director
Lawson Cole
Principal
Clare Ferguson
Associate Director
Yvette Colton
Principal
Henry Delves
Consultant
Ellen Lesslie
Analyst
Laura Venables
Senior Consultant
Rod Coulton
Associate Director
Tim Ryan
Associate Director
Nick Clarke
Associate Director
Susie Mills
Principal
Alex Redmond
Principal
Kate Maddy
Principal
Jeremy Williams
Principal
Oliver Snow
Consultant
Chris Olszak
Director
Ben Williams
Principal
Rajiv Venkatraman
Senior Consultant
Enua Philip
Analyst
Huw Pohlner
Associate Director
Amy Syvrud
Principal
Joseph Lorimer
Associate Director
Cassandra Stevenson
Consultant
Laura Venables
Senior Consultant
Sally Matchett
Consultant
Martijn Gough
Associate Director
Justin Story
Associate Director
Sarah Leck
Principal
Rachel von Gerhardt
Principal
Emma Dovers
Principal
Joshua Moore
Senior Consultant
Chris Olszak
Director
Rod Coulton
Associate Director
Tim Ryan
Associate Director
Sarah Leck
Principal
Alex Redmond
Principal
Susie Mills
Principal
Will Fargher
Director
Ryan Gormly
Associate Director
Malcolm Thompson
Senior Associate
Martijn Gough
Associate Director
Will Fargher
Director
Clare Ferguson
Associate Director
Kate Maddy
Principal
Clare Ferguson
Associate Director
Justin Story
Associate Director
Emma Dovers
Principal
Martijn Gough
Associate Director

See Our Project Experience

  • Water Policy & Management
  • Utilities & Infrastructure
  • Resilience & Adaptation
  • Water Markets
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Credit Craig Burns
Review of water governance in the Australian Capital Territory and Region, ACT Government, 2021
Aither undertook a two-part strategic review of water governance arrangements, focusing on whether arrangements are achieving objectives. The review identified multiple issues and opportunities, and Aither developed, tested and refined a preferred governance model and associated reform options, in collaboration with a wide range of water industry and related stakeholders.
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Town and city water security definition and diagnostic, Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, 2020
Aither was engaged to develop a definition and diagnostic for reporting on town and city water security across Australia. Aither tested a proof of concept through engagement and trialling, and with support for that, went on to undertake more extensive testing and consultation, and determine an implementation model, and gain national endorsement for the definition and diagnostic.
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Social and economic conditions in Basin communities project, Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), 2020.
Aither supported an independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Basin to inform whole-of-government responses to address changes associated with population, industry and technology across the Basin.
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Improving water allocation announcement processes, South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW), 2020.
Aither reviewed SA River Murray allocation announcement processes and recommended enhancements to improve water markets transparency and irrigator water literacy across South Australia.
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Horizon Scan for the Murray-Darling Basin Office of Compliance, Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), 2021.
Aither provided strategic insights and analysis to inform the Inspector-General’s planning and priorities in managing Basin Plan compliance.
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Improving drinking water services for regional and remote SA communities South Australia Council of Social Services (SACOSS) 2020.
Aither recommended improvements to South Australia’s regulatory and policy frameworks for the provision of water services to regional and remote communities based on a scan of best practice frameworks and stakeholder engagement.
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Exploring future scenarios to inform strategic planning, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) (WA), 2020.
Aither assessed and defined strategic directions to promote the sustainable use and management of water and environmental resources in Western Australia.
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Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for NSW Water Strategies, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), 2021.
Aither developed an overarching and integrated MER framework for the NSW Water Strategy, 12 regional water strategies, two metropolitan water strategies and the NSW Groundwater Strategy. Aither supported future implementation of the framework by supplying an implementation reporting framework and templates for annual reporting.
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Victorian Water Register Strategy – Implementation Plan, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), 2019.
Aither partnered with DELWP and the Victorian Water Register partners to develop the Victorian Water Register 10 Year Strategy 2019 – 2028 and implementation plan for actions in the Strategy. Aither's provided an effective framework to guide the redevelopment, operation and enhancement of the Water Register.
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Improving Basin Plan reporting, Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), 2021.
In partnership with Basin States and relevant agencies, Aither reviewed and updated the Murray-Darling’s Basin Plan Schedule 12 Reporting Guidelines supporting more effective reporting and monitoring outcomes.
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Development of model institutional arrangements for urban water management in Australia, Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, 2019.
In response to the Productivity Commission’s 2017 triennial assessment of the National Water Initiative (NWI), Aither developed a pathway for advancing the urban water sector by identifying priorities and actions with a focus on which entities deliver what functions, and how they work together, in urban water management). Aither also undertook a stocktake of existing institutional arrangements across jurisdictions.
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Interim Inspector-General’s Inquiry into the impact of lower inflows on state shares under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (Commonwealth), 2020.
Aither led stakeholder engagement and extensive research to inform the Inspector-General’s Report on the operational and water management impacts of lower inflows in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.
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Review of socio-economic neutrality under Murray-Darling Basin Plan, 2017
Aither reviewed policy provisions relating to socio-economic neutrality requirements for further water recovery under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The review informed intergovernmental deliberations relating to the finalisation of Basin Plan implementation activities.
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NSW Water Reform Action Plan, 2018
Aither was engaged by the NSW Department of Industry as part of the NSW Water Reform Action Plan to undertake an independent economic analysis of metering options for licensed groundwater and surface water users in NSW. This included analysis of the current extent of water take measurement in NSW and the costs and benefits of various policy options.
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NSW Government response to the ACCC interim water markets report, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), 2020.
Aither conducted an independent review of the key implications and issues for the New South Wales Government to address and consider arising from the ACCC’s Murray Darling Basin water markets inquiry to inform Government planning and evaluation.
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Supporting Aboriginal access to water for economic development, 2018
Aither was engaged to support the development of a roadmap for delivering Victoria’s commitment to improve access to water for Traditional Owner and Aboriginal people for economic development. The project included extensive stakeholder engagement to inform advice on options for deploying investment under the roadmap, governance arrangements, guidelines and assessment criteria for funding proposals.
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Policy advice to Infrastructure Australia (2017)
Aither was engaged by Infrastructure Australia (IA) Strategic advisor role; the outputs of which formed a major contribution to IA’s call for further urban water reform. Aither developed a best practice pricing framework for improving pricing in the urban water sector. Our review articulated the objectives and desired outcomes for urban water pricing and including a detailed framework which defined best practice water pricing.
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WaterNSW expenditure pricing reviews (2015 and 2017)
Aither was engaged by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to undertake two separate reviews of WaterNSW’s expenditure for both its rural bulk water and Greater Sydney areas. For both reviews, Aither conducted a strategic review of long-term investment plans and asset management systems, detailed review of WaterNSW’s past and proposed operating expenditures and capital expenditures, review of performance against output measures and proposed new output measures, and an assessment of the feasibility, costs and benefits of possible alternative approaches or methodologies for future expenditure reviews.
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Review of bulk water pricing in Queensland (2017)
SunWater engaged Aither to provide advice on pricing reform options across their bulk water and distribution systems which service irrigation, urban, industrial and mining customers. Aither identified best practice principles for pricing and economic regulation to recommend a long-term, sustainable water pricing reform framework that is transparent, consistent with the National Water Initiative and could be applied consistently across SunWater’s customer groups.
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Investigation into potential tariff and pricing reform for Southern Rural Water (2017)
Southern Rural Water (SRW) engaged Aither to investigate potential opportunities and implications for reform of its existing tariff structure. Aither worked closely with key SRW staff to identify a number of immediate and longer-term opportunities for improvement of the organisation’s tariff regime including reform of outlet tariffs to better reflect SRW’s services and the provision of modern outlets.
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PREMO Attestation Advice for the Yarra Valley Water Board (2017)
The Essential Services Commission’s PREMO framework requires the Board of the water business to provide attestation as to the accuracy of the information provided in the Price Submission. Aither was involved in verifying the internal sign-off and governance processes were sufficiently robust, reviewed and provided advice on appropriateness of assumptions and data used in the Price Submission inputs for the Information Template. As a result of the detailed approach, several key assumptions and major projects were revised prior to Board approval.
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Provided assistance to IPART for its review of performance indicators (2018)
IPART undertook a review of its performance indicators for public water utilities and WICA utilities. Aither provided considerable assistance to IPART in delivering its Issues Paper for the commencement of its review. The project required the consideration of all performance indicators, resulting in a key focus on customer satisfaction indicators that have been developed in other jurisdictions.
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Economic Model for Bushfire Management, Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Aither developed an economic model for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), capable of quantifying the benefits associated with bushfire management options across Victoria. The model used spatial estimates of economic values relating to buildings, agriculture, tourism and ecosystem services, and used inputs from DELWP’s bushfire simulation model (PHEONIX) to estimate response costs. The economic model was used to support a significant business case and is assisting DELWP in communication and decision-making regarding future investments.
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A collaborative framework for monitoring and evaluation in the NSW Marine Estate
Monitoring and evaluation services for the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
The Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS), released in 2018, provides the overarching framework for coordinated management of the NSW Marine Estate. Aither developed the integrated monitoring and evaluation framework for the MEMS in 2019. Aither was subsequently engaged to undertake a baseline evaluation of the MEMS. The evaluation findings and recommendations will support continued improvement in delivery of the MEMS, inform future planning, and support future funding bids.
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Legal and policy analysis of agricultural sustainable management practices and payments for sustainability outcomes, National Farmers Federation, 2021
The Australian Agriculture Sustainability Framework (AASF) is part of the Australian Government’s $66 million investment in the Agricultural Stewardship Package. Aither was engaged to support the National Farmers’ Federation to assess potential legal and policy barriers to the AASF. The assessment included a focus on barriers to the uptake of sustainability payments as an incentive to adopt sustainable management practices. Aither assessed the distributional and market effects of these barriers and identified future policy options for consideration and future assessment.
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Western Australia Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program design, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, 2021
The Western Australia Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program (CF-LRP) aims to encourage land managers to participate in carbon farming practices that support co-benefits for environmental, social and economic outcomes. Aither was engaged to support the design of the program to enable it to deliver multiple outcomes including market sustainability, project diversity, participant knowledge building, research and innovation, and value-for-money investments. Aither was subsequently engaged to develop selection metrics and a decision support tool to assess proposals received under the CF-LRP.
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Biodiversity and land management business case, Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
Aither was engaged to develop a business case for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) for a suite of activities and programs aimed at supporting biodiversity and managing land effectively. Aither worked with the DELWP Biodiversity and Land Management Policy Divisions, including program partners Trust for Nature, Parks Victoria, Landcare and environmental NGOs to deliver a significant business case that demonstrated the value of investing in our natural and supporting assets and the risks of inaction. The business case was successful in receiving funding from Treasury.
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Business case for funding and financing national strategy for coral reef restoration in Seychelles, World Bank, 2019
Aither was engaged to support the development of a national strategy for coral reef restoration in the Seychelles. Aither provided advice to the World Bank on how the Seychelles may use private funding and financing to restore its coral reefs, with a focus on restoring the coastal resilience benefits they provide. Aither designed and implemented an economic evaluation framework, using cost-benefit analysis, and assessed and recommended implementation and financing strategy options (such as payments for ecosystem services). The project concluded with a draft preliminary business case, which was used to inform the development of a pilot in Seychelles.
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Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategies, various clients
Aither were engaged by six Coastal Councils across Queensland to develop Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategies funded through the QCoast 2100 program. Aither undertook a cost-benefit analysis of proposed options to adapt to coastal hazards at key locations. Cost-benefit analysis and qualitative assessments demonstrated which options provided the greatest net benefits to the community, supporting the decision-making processes of each Council. Analysis and reporting for each Council has been peer reviewed and approved by the funding body for community consultation.
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Regulatory advice and economic modelling (2018)
Aither advised a major entitlement portfolio manager on trading strategies. We undertook an assessment of regulatory risks and developed an economic model to estimate future water allocation and entitlement prices in the southern Murray–Darling Basin. The project provided confidence to the portfolio owner and enabled further investment.
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Water trading strategy
Aither was engaged by the Victorian Water Corporation to develop a water allocation trading strategy which focused on within-season timing of trading decisions to manage risk, and addressed governance and procurement issues. The developed strategy is now being implemented.
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The impacts of water trading in the southern Murray-Darling Basin: an economic, social and environmental assessment (2012)
Aither team members undertook the National Water Commission’s comprehensive assessments and reports on the impacts of water trading released in 2010 and 2012. This extensive body of work underpins our knowledge of the water market, market participants, and key trends and drivers.
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The right team

“I had a really great experience. Aither was able to bring the right team to the project and everything about it worked well.”
Senior Program Manager
Victorian Public Sector

Full, clear and relevant

“What I liked about working with Aither was their very good RFQ process. Some organisations don't even answer the actual points asked. Aither’s response was full, clear and relevant – and it gave an accurate description of the actual humans that would deliver the project, and didn’t just say 'a member of staff'."
Manager, Water Policy
Victorian Government Department

I would strongly recommend Aither

"The outstanding professionalism of Aither and the high calibre of their work was evident from the very beginning of the work they completed for me. They showed an in-depth understanding of the subject matter and a genuine talent for getting to the root cause of issues. The work was in a particularly complex stakeholder space, and their patience and ability to work with so many competing stakeholder needs ensured the end product was acceptable to everyone involved and aligned with the strategic intent of the policy. I would strongly recommend Aither to anyone looking for a highly skilled and capable team."
Senior Manager
Emergency Management, Victorian Government Department

Great value and authority

"Since the abolition of the National Water Commission, it has been difficult to obtain comprehensive, credible and independent statistical analysis and reporting upon the Australian water market. Aither has singularly filled this significant void. We place great value and authority on their analysis and advice. "
Managing Director
Agricultural investment management company

Insightful advice

"Aither has been providing valuable independent insight and advice in relation to water markets within Australia's southern Murray-Darling Basin since 2012. In our experience, Aither employs a unique combination of deep firsthand experience of the regulatory environment governing these markets with a powerful analytical toolkit which always delivers insightful advice."
Director
Water investment firm

Featured Insight

9 August 2023

Aither in the news | 2023 Water Markets Report

The 2022-23 Water Markets Report is now available. Links to media surrounding the release of this...
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