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Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management: the Murray Darling River Basin, Austrialia

William Blomquist, Brian Haisman, Ariel Dinar () and Anjali Bhat

No 3527, Policy Research Working Paper Series from The World Bank

Abstract: The authors describe and analyze management in the Murray-Darling basin of Australia, long regarded as a model for integrated river basin management. This interior basin of over 1 million km2 in semi-arid southeastern Australia is defined by the catchment areas of the Murray and Darling Rivers and their tributaries. Water management issues include allocation, quality, and dryland salinity. Because of Australia's federal governmental structure, institutional development has been more a matter of integrating state and local endeavors than decentralization of national authority. The Australian national government has little constitutional power over water resources. The five states in the basin make policy regarding water rights, discharge permits, fees, and the construction and operation of physical structures. River management began on the Murray River in the 1920s under the terms of a tri-state agreement. As the scope of management widened to the entire basin, more states were added and the national government supported the creation of new arrangements for integrated water resource management, with some provision for stakeholder participation. The dynamics of state-national authority over water policy, and the emergence in recent years of numerous local-level catchment organization, contribute to some uncertainty about the future course of basin management in this internationally renowned site.

Keywords: Water and Industry; Water Conservation; Water Resources Law; Environmental Economics&Policies; Water Supply and Systems; Town Water Supply and Sanitation; Drought Management; Water and Industry; Water Conservation; Water Supply and Sanitation Governance and Institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-02-01
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