Water Policy Reform

Water Policy Reform

Lessons in Sustainability from the Murray–Darling Basin

Edited by John Quiggin, Thilak Mallawaarachchi and Sarah Chambers

Agriculture in the Murray–Darling Basin of Australia represents a controversial ‘policy experiment’ comprising large capital investments, innovation and enterprise across a hundred-year period. This book, which contains contributions from some of Australia’s foremost economic, social science and public policy researchers and writers, examines the evolution of public policy frameworks that transformed water management from initial exploitation for irrigation as a dominant single use to a dynamic multiple use resource system.

Chapter 4: Assessing the Regional Impacts of the Basin Plan and the Water for the Future Program in the Murray–Darling Basin

Nga Nguyen, Tim Goesch and Peter Gooday

Subjects: development studies, development studies, environment, environmental geography, management natural resources, water


JOBNAME: Quiggin PAGE: 3 SESS: 2 OUTPUT: Fri Feb 10 09:39:43 2012 4. Assessing the regional impacts of the Basin Plan and the Water for the Future program in the Murray– Darling Basin Nga Nguyen, Tim Goesch and Peter Gooday The content of this chapter was drawn heavily from the report that ABARES prepared for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, titled ‘Assessing the regional impact of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan and the Australian government’s Water for the Future program in the Murray–Darling Basin’, October 2010. INTRODUCTION It is proposed that under the Basin Plan new environmentally sustainable limits are to be applied to consumptive diversions in the Basin states excluding Victoria in 2014–15 and in Victoria in 2018–19. These limits will reduce the volume of water available for irrigation in the Basin, which will have implications for irrigators and the regional communities in which they live. These new limits are not being introduced in isolation, however. The Australian government has introduced policies to help mitigate the effects of, and ease the transition to, the new diversion limits. It is therefore important when assessing the effects of the Basin Plan to also take into consideration these mitigating policies. These policies not only partially offset the reduction in irrigation water availability (and hence irrigated activity) that will occur when the new diversion limits come into effect, but also lead to more expenditure in regional economies than would have otherwise been the case....

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