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A process of water distribution is underway in the water-stressed and over-allocated Murray-Darling Basin. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Murray-Darling Basin Plan 2012 (Cth) can gain enough momentum to restore the Basin’s health. Large-scale government buybacks have also proven to be unpopular politically, and will play a more limited role in water recovery strategies going forward. In this context, models of impact investment provide a potentially effective option for improving system resiliency for the benefit of a range of uses. Through an examination of the Murray-Darling Basin Balanced Water Fund, the chapter will analyse the benefits and risks of this approach in the legal context of the MDB, as well as the legal supports and safeguards required to support these initiatives in meeting their environmental objectives. The analysis will draw on theories of innovation, governance perspectives on social learning and the concept of smart regulation in order to evaluate the potential of the Fund within a market-based water allocation framework. It will argue that, when accompanied by appropriate legislative safeguards, private initiatives of the kind represented by the Fund have the potential to function as an effective complementary measure, and improve system resiliency for the benefit of a range of uses, including the environment.
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- Environmental Water Transactions and Innovation in Australia
- Springer Singapore
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