0,2827,en_21571361_34281952_35586717_1_1_1_1,00 - OECD...

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OECD WORKSHOP ON AGRICULTURE AND WATER: SUSTAINABILITY, MARKETS AND POLICIES 14-18 November, 2005: 14-16 November – Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 17-18 November – Barmera, South Australia SESSION N°2 National Water Initiative – The Economics of Water Management in Australia -An Overview Malcolm Thompson General Manager, Water Reform Group, National Water Commission, Australian Government Information on the Workshop is accessible though the OECD Password Protected website at: http://www.oecd.org/agr/env See under “What’s new” then click on OECD Workshop on Agriculture and Water and Login under: water and Password: australia
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National Water Initiative – The Economics of Water Management in Australia -An Overview Malcolm Thompson, General Manager, Water Reform Group, National Water Commission, Australian Government Abstract The major economic issues facing agriculture and water in Australia involve the continued transition to using and managing water under the influence of more mature market conditions. This includes clearer specification of water property rights, assigning risk of changes in water allocation to improve investment certainty, proper accounting for water, extending the scope for efficient water markets, and pricing which seeks to better reflect the true economic cost of the resource. Each of these elements is pursued by Australia’s blueprint for water reform, the National Water Initiative. Amongst other things, the transition will involve making careful judgements in order to optimise the mix of markets, planning and regulation for water management in Australia. In this area, economic insights about incentive structures will be useful to shape the mix and institutional settings for managing water on the ground. Keywords : water, Australia, markets, planning, regulation Background There are a number of ways of describing water management in Australia, for example historically, legislatively, institutionally, or in hydrological or ecological terms. By way of background, this paper begins by illustrating some of the challenges for water management in Australia through some prominent tensions which currently characterise water use and management in this country. The notion of ‘tensions’ is not used here as a negative term – it simply reflects the competing interests, incentives, methods and understandings which lie at the heart of managing a natural resource such as water. Some of the more notable tensions for water in Australia include the following: Water is vested in the state and territory governments, but there are national imperatives for water management – including the sharing of physical water resources between states, nationally significant environmental assets, the emergence of interstate water markets, the cross-border flow of capital to water-based investments. All this is complicated by different legislative and administrative arrangements between states, and by the different character of hydrological systems
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0,2827,en_21571361_34281952_35586717_1_1_1_1,00 - OECD...

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