Who owns the water in Australia?


Staff member
Who owns the water in Australia? Came across this video talking about the 2019 drought in Australia. At 4:00 there is an interview with a farmer who can not touch the water running through his property. The video narrator says the water is being sent downstream to be sold to the highest bidder. So why can't the farmer put in a well a few feet from the river and pump water from the ground?

Living in Texas, the idea of the government owning the water is a foreign concept. There is a stream that runs along the farm I live on, and I pump water from it to irrigate my garden. So this whole idea about not being about to touch water on your property seems outrageous.

It is almost as if the Australian government is trying to drive farmers out of business.

This brings up another question, maybe the government is trying to drive the farmers out of business so Chinese companies ca buy the land for cheap, then import Chinese workers to work the farms. Rather than cutting out the middle man, own the source, which is the land were the cattle are raised.


I think you mean in our wet part of east Texas. You can find small shooting wars on the dry western side, some across the Rio Grande between farmers on each side. There has been ongoing international litigation over that river water as long as you and I have been alive.

Water wars are ancient and messy. It's one of those problems there are no good universal concepts to come to a real world or philosophical consensus with. So many many intelligent principles are in direct conflict with each other.

I like to think I can muddle through any topic with some kind of rational opinion. With water rights I've got nothing that I can't argue myself out of.

It's not going to get any better either. Water will be then next oil. Only a population reset is going to fix it.

This may be one topic that never sees a best intellectual resolution.

The Chinese angle is a lot easier. They are resource predators and represent the future of all the resource problems the world has. Any government getting in bed with them is selling their future for the now.