On 31 March 2017, the Centre for Global Food and Resources staff (Dr Adamson, Dr Loch, Associate Professor Wheeler, and Adjunct Professor Connor) made a submission to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources, inquiry into water-use efficiency in Australian agriculture.
The submission includes key comments and research that staff at the centre have been involved with about water-use efficiency impacts on farms, closed basin and irrigators.
The key insights in the document are:
- The need to define water use efficiency and understand the various constraints on achieving differing measures of water use efficiency.
- Lack of clarity of how the water savings are being transformed into property rights, and the nature of those rights (i.e. their reliability).
- The downside of efficiency is a loss of flexibility and this may reduce the volume of water that can be traded during droughts. A lack of water in the market in key times may expose private capital investment.
- To maximise the water obtained from public spending you would need to target the least efficient farmers, which penalises the good farmers.
- Water-use efficiency could cannibalise the water obtained from the buy-back.
- On-going investments in modernising irrigation can place on-going distress on irrigators in terms of higher electricity costs in the future, and these investments in water-use efficiency are often considered wasteful by this group of farmers.
Here is the full text of the Submission – SRWUIP enquiry final
This entry was prepared by Dr David Adamson. You can read more about Dr Adamson’s work here.