• Why invest in Australian water?

    White Paper: The Portfolio Benefits of Investing in Australian Water Rights

The Portfolio Benefits of Investing in Australian Water Rights

Australian water markets are regarded as one of the best regulated globally, as water assets have strong and enforceable property rights to foster investment certainty. Investing in Australian water is done via two types of tradeable assets:

  • Water Entitlements: A right to receive annual water allocations, which is underpinned by strong property rights that mirror land titles. These rights are perpetual, transferable, mortgageable and can be divided and amalgamated; and
  • Annual Water Allocations: A right to use a specified volume of water each year. The “water year” starts on Jul 1 and water authorities announce allocations on the 1st and 15th of each month (up to 100%) for each entitlement class. When allocations increase, volumes are credited to the entitlement owner’s water account.

The southern Murray Darling Basin (“sMDB”) regulated surface-water market (includes environmental volume), accounts for 45% of the value of issued Australian water entitlements. The sMDB is considered the most sophisticated water market globally due to:

  • Its hydrology, as the major rivers of the Murrumbidgee, Murray and Goulburn are all connected;
  • Its regulation, as it permits trade in water allocations across the major river valleys and 3 states (namely Victoria [“VIC”], New South Wales [“NSW”] and South Australia [“SA”]); and
  • Its scale (covers an area roughly the size of Germany), as a single water entitlement can service thousands of farms operating across a wide range of irrigated agri-sectors and geographies.

Trade in water assets occurs in an established market, where price is driven by supply and demand. Long-term fundamentals of declining rainfall and increasing agri-production support investing in Australian water assets.

Given their unique and value-add investment characteristics, a diversified portfolio of high-quality Australian water assets could be held in numerous parts of an investor’s total portfolio.

This white paper summarises water assets’ characteristics and the benefit of including them in a portfolio.

Access the full whitepaper for analysis of water asset characteristics, and the benefit of including them in a portfolio.

Kilter Rural has been servicing institutional investments in water since 2006 and has been the pre-eminent innovator and supplier of water products to irrigators in the southern Murray Darling Basin.


Watch now: Why invest in Australian Water?

At this year’s Global Aginvest on the Green Kilter Rural’s CIO Euan Friday spoke about Australian water, a commodity like no other. Join him to find out why investing in Australian water makes sense.

What is water investment?

  • Kilter Rural was established in 2004 to deliver profit with impact–investing at scale in the regeneration of farmland, water and environmental assets.

The Kilter Rural difference


As an alternative real asset class, water provides opportunities for diversification and risk mitigation. Water has a return profile uncorrelated with traditional assets, making it one of the few asset classes able to provide a true source of alternative beta for Investors. Australian water markets provide one of the very few opportunities globally for investors to obtain direct exposure to this most vital of assets.

Our investment approach:

  • Has the ability to lift the overall yield achieved
  • Has the ability to significantly reduce volatility
  • Has the capacity to impact sustainability
  • Acts as a hedge against impacts of climate change.

Quality arable farmland across the globe is becoming increasingly scarce, with the World Bank reporting that arable land per person declined by 52% from 1961 to 2015.

Since 2006 we have been implementing our Future Farming Landscapes investment model, purchasing 40 properties, covering 12,000 hectares (29,640 acres) of irrigation farmland country in Australia. Farmland is regenerated at scale to deliver long-term resilience and reduced exposure to traditional risks. This is a core-plus strategy – adding value to deliver farmlands with a sustainable, global competitive advantage.

Our team


CEO and Executive Director
Since the late 1980s Cullen has dedicated his working life to advancing sustainable farmland, water and ecosystem management in Australia. Long-term exposure to the investment needs of Australian landscapes prompted a desire to attract institutional-scaled investment in sustainably managed landscapes.

He is a director of Accounting for Nature, a not-for-profit company with a vision to be a recognised global leader for measuring changes in the health of the environment. Cullen is a founding director of Kilter Rural and has been overseeing the existing investment portfolios since 2006.


Chair, Director, Chief Investment Officer
Euan has more than 25 years’ experience in senior financial and commercial roles. Prior to joining Kilter Rural in 2008, Euan spent 10 years working in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Corporate Finance practice in Melbourne and Europe. This was followed by seven years with STA Travel where he held the roles of chief financial officer (CFO), director of sales and managing director for STA’s AUS/NZ business. During this period STA Travel’s annual turnover increased from $180 million to $350 million. At Kilter Rural, Euan has been integral to the establishment of the water business which today manages assets across all major classes of Water Entitlement on issue in the sMDB. Today, as CIO, Euan heads up Kilter Rural’s investments team focused on identifying and securing new investment opportunities for clients.


General Manager Water

Matt joined Kilter in April 2018. He has a business development background combined with commercial and technical experience in both the water and agricultural sectors. He has had management oversight in the operation of the Goldfields Superpipe as well as for water treatment and network distribution of urban water supplies. Matt has provided business consultancy services to multiple agricultural industries, was CEO of a health-related patient transport organisation and has been co-founder of multiple successful technology start-up companies.

Connect with our team