Environment-Irrigation Trade-Offs and Risks

by Norman J. Dudley, Univ of New England, Armidale,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Risk-Based Decision Making in Water Resources VI


Allocation of scarce water resources between environmental and commercial uses is an extremely important problem in many parts of the world. A study is under way in Australia to examine a water allocation and property rights system in which both wetlands managers and irrigators participate in a market for reservoir water in a highly variable climatic environment. This system allows both commercial and environmental water users to make their own trade-offs between maximizing the expected outcomes and minimizing the risks they face, while exposing their decision processes to the changing value water has to other users over time. In turn, the regional trade-offs between long-term allocations of water resources to environmental versus commercial uses can be quantified and minimized. This information is vital if policy-makers are to make informed decisions about the appropriate levels of environmental amenities to maintain.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Water rights | Resource allocation | Water policy | Water supply systems | Water supply | Irrigation | Australia

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