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Water Policy Reform

Lessons in Sustainability from the Murray–Darling Basin Edited by John Quiggin, Thilak Mallawaarachchi and Sarah Chambers, The University of Queensland, Australia
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.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $126.00 Web: $113.40
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 978 1 78100 031 1
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  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Environment
  • Environmental Geography
  • Management Natural Resources
  • Water
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.

Water Policy Reform provides both analytical insights and examples of successes and failures in developing water policy in a complex and politically-contested environment. As such, this work attempts to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Basin and provides novel and invaluable lessons for an increasingly global problem.

This well-researched study will interest both economists and those with public policy interest in academia and the public sector, including development agencies concerned with sustainable water resource management.
‘. . . the book is a major addition to the literature on water policy and river basin management, and should be widely circulated, read and discussed.’
– Sailen Routray, Current Science

‘This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how to ensure sustainability while effectively addressing social and economic issues. The contributors are all well-recognised in their areas of expertise and their chapters are highly informative. The book’s focus is on policy reform in the Murray–Darling Basin. It offers a “window to the future” and important insights for other parts of the world that are also facing the dilemma of the overextraction of water and what to do about it. I highly recommend it.’
– Quentin Grafton, The Australian National University

‘Managing the water of the Murray–Darling Basin has emerged as one of the greatest challenges for Australia’s scientists, social scientists and policymakers. This book brings together some of Australia’s leading economists and social scientists to discuss ideas and solutions for a national problem that is both intriguing and exasperating. Readers will enjoy the candid discussion of both the distant and the recent history of this issue, plus the innovative solutions. From a philosophical perspective the reader may wish to muse on the relative merits of different degrees of free market and private property approaches vs top-down control as they pertain to the past, present and future of Australia’s largest river basin.’
– Hugh Possingham, The University of Queensland, Australia
Contributors: D. Adamson, O. Banerjee, J. Bennett, S. Chambers, J. Connor, L. Crase, T. Cummins, S. Driml, T. Goesch, P. Gooday, D. Hatton MacDonald, T. Mallawaarachchi, A. McClintock, M. Morrison, N. Nguyen, D. Pannell, J. Quiggin, H. Ross, A. Ryan, P. Schrobback, S. Tapsuwan, A. Watson, M. Young, Z. Zarezadeh
Contents:

Foreword

Introduction

PART I: POLICY
1. A Hundred-Year Policy Experiment: The Murray–Darling Basin in Australia
Tim Cummins and Alistair Watson

2. Water Markets, Property Rights and Managing Environmental Water Reserves
Lin Crase

3. Why the Guide to the Proposed Basin Plan Failed, and What Can Be Done to Fix It
John Quiggin

PART II: AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
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

5. Variability and Uncertainty: Implications for Water Policy Impact Analysis
Thilak Mallawaarachchi, David Adamson, Sarah Chambers, Peggy Schrobback and John Quiggin

6. Investment as an Adaptation Response to Water Scarcity
Thilak Mallawaarachchi, Anthea McClintock, David Adamson and John Quiggin

PART III: ENVIRONMENT
7. Chewing on the CEWH: Options for Improving Management of Environmental Water in the Murray–Darling Basin
Mike Young

8. Maximising Benefits from Murray–Darling Basin Water Resource Management
Jeff Connor, Onil Banerjee, Darla Hatton MacDonald, Sorada Tapsuwan, Mark Morrison and Anthony Ryan

PART IV: COMMUNITY
9. Informing Tough Trade-offs in the Murray–Darling Basin
Jeff Bennett

10. Water Allocation, Social Change and Resilience
Helen Ross, Sally Driml and Zohreh Zarezadeh

Conclusion

Appendices

Index