Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund has been awarded Australia’s premier environment prize for 2017, the Banksia Award, in the natural capital category. Judged by an independent panel of experts, the Award “recognises demonstrated leadership and excellence in valuing, measuring, managing and investing in Australia’s natural capital with the same rigor that we manage all of society’s capital”. The Nature Conservancy, who are one the the largest and most trusted environmental asset managers in the world with close to $8b invested globally, worked with Kilter Rural, one of the largest and most experienced water fund managers in Australia, along with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, to create this unique fund that serves the needs of investors, irrigators and the environment.

The fund invests in permanent water rights in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin. When water is scarce and agricultural demand is higher, more water is made available to agriculture. When water is abundant and agricultural demand is slower, more water is allocated to wetlands. It is a win-win, aligning the interests of people and nature. Balancing social, environmental and financial outcomes fundamentally aligns with Kilter Rural’s stewardship philosophy for management of water, farmland and ecosystem assets. Since its launch in 2015, the fund has attracted investment over $25m.