Australian water resources
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Australian Water Resources. Brief overview History Water resource issues in Australia COAG Water Reforms Tradeoffs between biodiversity & economy A case study - the Murray-Darling Basin The Cap Institutional arrangements ICM framework Comparisons with South Africa. Water in general.

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Presentation Transcript
Australian water resources
Australian Water Resources

  • Brief overview

  • History

  • Water resource issues in Australia

  • COAG Water Reforms

  • Tradeoffs between biodiversity & economy

  • A case study - the Murray-Darling Basin

    • The Cap

    • Institutional arrangements

    • ICM framework

  • Comparisons with South Africa


Water in general
Water in general

  • Water problems are emotional

  • Water issues are political

  • Water solutions are technical


Triple vision
Triple vision?

Balancing social, environmental and economic dimensions of water resource management



Brief overview
Brief overview

  • Australia is dry - average rainfall 470mm/yr

  • Only 12% rainfall runs off to rivers

  • Climate is highly variable - “where the rivers are dry or 10 feet high”

  • Population in SE, water in NW

  • Murray-Darling Basin is large ICM trial

  • 14% land area (1 million km2), 70% all water used for irrigation, 40% agricultural GVP

  • Great Artesian Basin is world’s largest aquifer

  • 15 million ML groundwater available each year




History
History

  • 1795 - Protection of Sydney’s water supply

  • 1857 - First major dam & reticulated water supply

  • 1880 - Water & Conservation District Act (VIC)

  • 1901 - Federation: 6 states each managing water

  • 1915 - River Murray Agreement

  • 1949 - Snowy Mountains Scheme

  • 1971 - Lake Pedder Dam

  • 1983 - Blue green algal scare in Darling River

  • 1985 - Murray Darling Basin Commission formed

  • 1987 - Privatisation of irrigation schemes

  • 1994 - COAG water reforms

  • 1997 - Introduce Cap on extractions from M-DB


Water resource issues

Water Resources

Demand exceeds supply - 26% areas over-allocated

30% groundwater units over-allocated

Natural turbidity

Phosphate pollution

Nitrate pollution

Algal blooms

Salinisation - especially in southern basins

Changed flow regimes

Pest fish species

Catchment Resources

Devolution of authority

Politics of water & catchment management

Cost of repairing damage

Declining runoff due to off-stream storage

Rising saline water tables

Alien plants & animals

Declining biodiversity

Increasing returns from irrigated agriculture

Water resource issues



1994 coag water reforms
1994 COAG Water Reforms

  • Strategic framework for water industry reform to ensure efficient and sustainable use of water

  • Links environmental & economic objectives:

    • Environmental flows

    • Improve water quality

    • Integrated catchment management

    • Pricing water at full cost of resource & services

    • Water trading within & between basins

    • Separate service delivery & regulation

  • Aims for consistent approach nationally


Case study mdbc
Case study: MDBC

  • Murray-Darling Basin covers 1 million km2

  • 14% Australia, 70% irrigation, 40% Ag. GVP

  • Murray-Darling Basin Commission formed 1985

  • 6 governments in partnership with community

  • Large integrated catchment management trial

  • Different instruments for change:

    • ICM Statement - goals, values & principles

    • Salinity Strategy - strategic investigations & actions

    • Basin Sustainability Program - $ for implementation

    • Local Action Planning groups - participation

  • Regulating flows, supervising inter-state trade



The cap
The Cap

  • 1995 - moratorium on growth in water diversions

  • 1997 - permanent cap on water diversions

  • Demand for water continuing to grow fast

    • Price of permanent water entitlement increased from A$400 to A$1200 per ML between 1995 and 2002

    • Volume traded increasing at 30% per year

    • Growing market for leased water

  • Politically difficult - tradeoffs & compromise

    • Queensland & NSW considering pulling out

  • Good example of integrated management of economic, social & environmental issues




The icm framework
The ICM Framework

  • Goal & vision for healthy rivers, innovative and sustainable industries and healthy communities

  • Management of social, economic & social assets

  • Framework for hard choices - tradeoffs

    • 40% reduction in irrigation to protect endangered fish

    • Increase cost of water to include “resource rent”

    • Value ecosystem services

    • Change flow regimes to protect wetlands

    • Reduce salinising activities to protect ecosystems

  • Introduce end-of-valley targets

  • Penalise catchments that don’t meet targets

  • Devolve responsibility & resources to community

  • Increase collaboration between states & agencies



Comparisons with sa
Comparisons with SA

  • Similar tradeoffs between environment & economy

    • over allocation in some basins

    • political imperative for regional economic development

    • growing voice for the environment from urban elites

  • Social dimension in SA includes equity issues

  • National policy setting increases consistency

  • Water and land institutions remain separated - IWRM rather than ICM

  • International dimensions & inter-basin transfers

  • NWA structure similar to Australian Acts

    • sustainable use & management of water resources

    • public participation in water resource management

    • balance between economy, ecology & community


What is sustainable use
What is sustainable use?

  • How should water be used?

  • Where should water be used?

  • How much should water cost?

  • Who decides the tradeoff between water for the environment and water for development?

  • Who has the right to use water?

  • How can rivers, wetlands and groundwater be saved or restored?

  • Are there multiple use strategies to meet both environmental and economic needs?


Resources
Resources

  • www.mdbc.gov.au

  • www.nlwra.gov.au

  • www.csiro.org.au/lw

  • www.lwa.gov.au

  • www.wri.org

  • www.worldbank.org/water

  • www.wrc.gov.za

  • www.dwaf.gov.za


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