WIT Press

Advancing The Trade Of Groundwater Entitlements In Australia


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WIT Press


T. Boyd & J. Brumley


For the past ten years Australia has been committed to widespread reform of the water industry. An important component of this reform is the national implementation of trade in allocated water rights. Surface water trading is now much more established than groundwater trading despite the fact these systems are often hydraulically connected. Yet groundwater trading promises to be an effective instrument for the allocation of groundwater within aquifers which have reached their prescribed yield limit. As the practice of groundwater trading grows, it is imperative that effective controls and guiding principles be in place to ensure it achieves sustainable outcomes. Potential impacts to other users, groundwater dependent ecosystems and groundwater quality must all be considered. An effective way of achieving this is through the development of comprehensive local trading rules for incorporation into groundwater management plans. This paper summarises the development of groundwater trading policy in Australia and recommends future management directions and priorities, including strategies for facilitating appropriate trading rule development. The issues peculiar to groundwater trade in Australia and the social implications of such trade are considered along with measures for managing these. The paper recognises the need in each case to take into account hydrogeological, social and political variability. Keywords: groundwater trade, water entitlement, water management, Australian water reform. 1 Introduction Australia’s water industry is currently experiencing significant change, including the implementation of trade in water allocations. For groundwater trades to be


groundwater trade, water entitlement, water management, Australian water reform.