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Agricultural land management strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in the Gippsland Lakes, Australia

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  • Roberts, Anna M.
  • Pannell, David J.
  • Doole, Graeme J.
  • Vigiak, Olga

Abstract

A target to reduce phosphorus flows into the Gippsland Lakes in south-eastern Australia by 40 per cent to improve water quality has previously been established by stakeholders. An integrated analysis at the catchment scale is undertaken to assess the agricultural land management changes required to achieve this target, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these changes. It appears technically feasible to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in P load entering the lakes, but the least-costly way of doing so would require around A$1 billion over 20 years, a dramatic increase in the current levels of funding provided for management. On the other hand, a 20 per cent P reduction could be achieved at much lower cost: around $80 million over 20 years and requiring more modest land-management changes. The choice of optimal land-management strategies depends upon whether on-going costs for management maintenance are likely to be available after the initial funding ceased. Reliance on voluntary adoption of ‘Current Recommended Practices’ (CRPs) is unlikely to deliver changes in management practices at the scale required to have sufficient environmental impacts. Enforcement of existing regulations for the dairy industry would be amongst the most cost-effective management strategies. The major implications of this work for agriculturally induced diffuse-source pollution include the need for feedback between goal setting and program costs, and consideration of factors such as the levels of landholder adoption of new practices that are required, and the feasibility of achieving those adoption levels. Costs, land holder adoption of new practices and socio-political risks appear neglected in the formulation of many water quality programs. The framework used in this study provides a strong basis for discussion and debate about the environmental outcomes that can be achieved with limited budgets and also about the agricultural production and environmental tradeoffs required to reduce diffuse-source nutrient pollution. The results are relevant to comparable water-quality programs worldwide.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 102454.

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Date of creation: 28 Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uwauwp:102454

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Keywords: benefit: cost analysis; dairy; diffuse source; trade-offs; Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy; Q15; Q25; Q53; Q57;

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  1. Leon, L. F. & Booty, W. G. & Bowen, G. S. & Lam, D. C. L., 2004. "Validation of an agricultural non-point source model in a watershed in southern Ontario," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 59-75, February.
  2. Maticic, Brane, 1999. "The impact of agriculture on ground water quality in Slovenia: standards and strategy," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2-3), pages 235-247, May.
  3. Pannell, David J., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis of normative economic models: theoretical framework and practical strategies," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 139-152, May.
  4. Rice, Ronald W. & Izuno, Forrest T. & Garcia, Raymond M., 2002. "Phosphorus load reductions under best management practices for sugarcane cropping systems in the Everglades Agricultural Area," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 17-39, July.
  5. Pannell, David J., 1997. "Sensitivity analysis of normative economic models: theoretical framework and practical strategies," Agricultural Economics: The Journal of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 16(2), May.
  6. Pannell, David J. & Roberts, Anna M. & Park, Geoff & Curatolo, April & Marsh, Sally P. & Alexander, Jennifer, 2011. "Integrated assessment of public investment in land-use change to protect environmental assets in Australia," Working Papers 102455, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  7. Sharpley, Andrew N. & Gburek, William J. & Folmar, G. & Pionke, H. B., 1999. "Sources of phosphorus exported from an agricultural watershed in Pennsylvania," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 77-89, July.
  8. Dono, Gabriele & Mazzapicchio, Graziano, 2010. "Uncertain water supply in an irrigated Mediterranean area: An analysis of the possible economic impact of climate change on the farm sector," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(6), pages 361-370, July.
  9. David J. Pannell, 2008. "Public Benefits, Private Benefits, and Policy Mechanism Choice for Land-Use Change for Environmental Benefits," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(2), pages 225-240.
  10. A. Yang & G. Huang & X. Qin, 2010. "An Integrated Simulation-Assessment Approach for Evaluating Health Risks of Groundwater Contamination Under Multiple Uncertainties," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 24(13), pages 3349-3369, October.
  11. Alfons Weersink & Scott Jeffrey & David Pannell, 2002. "Farm-Level Modeling for Bigger Issues," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 24(1), pages 123-140.
  12. Kay, Paul & Edwards, Anthony C. & Foulger, Miles, 2009. "A review of the efficacy of contemporary agricultural stewardship measures for ameliorating water pollution problems of key concern to the UK water industry," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 99(2-3), pages 67-75, February.
  13. Suzi Kerr & Kit Rutherford & Kelly Lock, 2007. "Nutrient Trading in Lake Rotorua: Goals and Trading Caps," Working Papers 07_08, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. 261 – Agricultural water pollution
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2014-01-27 15:00:37
  2. 210 – Under-estimating the costs of environmental protection
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2012-03-19 12:00:00
  3. 210 – Under-estimating the costs of environmental protection
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2012-03-18 23:48:04
  4. 235 – Ranking environmental projects 1
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2013-04-30 16:03:56
  5. 257 – Be smart, use SMART goals
    by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2013-11-18 15:00:50
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