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The Australian National University


Water buybacks and water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin

The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) suffered its worst ever recorded drought that ended in 2010 and had devastating impact on communities, agriculture and the environment. This water crisis led to important water reforms over the past decade including: the 2004 National Water Initiative, the Water Act 2007 and the 2008 Water for the Future package. Full integration of these worthy initiatives, with particular attention to: (1) society and communities; (2) the economics of water reform; and (3) the long-term sustainability of the environment offers the promise of a viable future for those who work and enjoy the benefits of living in the MDB.

This project is a close collaboration between the Director of CWEEP, Professor R. Quentin Grafton, and the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.
Using the existing literature and some additional modelling, an economic assessment of the Basin will be provided in terms of the:

  1. Effects of the current drought and water trading;
  2. Water diversions;
  3. Economic effects of water buybacks;
  4. Economic effects of water buybacks versus investments in on-farm irrigation efficiency; and
  5. Economic effects of climate change.

Updated:  25 July 2013/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement /Page Contact:  CAP Web Team