WIT Press

\“Custodians” Or \“Investors”: Classifying Irrigators In Australia’s Namoi Valley


Free (open access)








469 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


G. Kuehne & H. Bjornlund


This paper examines groundwater irrigators’ perceptions of the community processes of developing water-sharing plans (WSP) within the Namoi Valley of New South Wales. The groundwater resource is over-allocated, and in some areas, over-extracted. It is a complex situation that has not necessarily been effectively managed by any party, government or licence holders. The result is that the government is now attempting to rectify the over-allocation of water entitlements through the WSP that have been jointly developed by irrigators, community members and government representatives. The WSPs in some instances will result in significant reductions to water entitlements. A mail-out questionnaire was sent to irrigators followed by personal interviews with irrigators and other stakeholders. Licence holders are dissatisfied with the process; they strongly believe that the process has been seriously flawed. The survey indicates that licence holders are planning to make a number of management responses to cope with the impact of the WSP, many of which are driven by considerations other than economic or financial. These findings should help policy makers to more accurately target farmers when planning significant changes. Keywords: groundwater, water sharing plans, Namoi Valley, farmer typology. 1 Introduction This paper explores some of the issues involved in the journey towards sustainability for a group of irrigators who are reliant on one of Australia’s most stressed aquifers. The aim of the research is to explore the reasons why farmers behave in the way that they do; what influences them when they make decisions


groundwater, water sharing plans, Namoi Valley, farmer typology.