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The passage of the Water Act 2007 by the Australian Government was an historic moment in the management of the Murray-Darling Basin, a transboundary river system home to 16 Ramsar wetlands and responsible for generating approximately 50% of the country’s irrigated produce (Murray-Darling Basin Authority 2017). The Act sought to end decades of unsustainable water use—principally for irrigated agriculture—by introducing new limits on water extraction across the Basin. The vehicle for achieving this goal, the Basin Plan, was in turn passed in late 2012. However—and contrary to the requirements of the Act—the limits imposed under the Plan were not sustainable, not least of all because they failed to take into account likely, future climate change. Implementation of the Plan’s various sub-instruments and strategies has also been beset by statutory and policy changes that privilege consideration of socio-economic factors over environmental outcomes. This chapter examines the aforementioned reorientation and sets out a series of recommendations intended to restore faith in water reform processes in the Murray-Darling Basin. It is also hoped that this analysis will assist regulators and stakeholders to identify and manage possible barriers to proper implementation of domestic and international water laws in other, transboundary basins.
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- The Unwinding of Water Reform in the Murray-Darling Basin: A Cautionary Tale for Transboundary River Systems
- Springer Singapore
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