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Water policy reform in Australia: lessons from the Victorian seasonal water market

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  • Brennan, Donna C.

Abstract

The nature of the seasonal water market is examined using a theoretical model and empirical evidence from the Victorian market. Drivers of the seasonal opportunity cost of water include the underlying nature of investment in the industry made in the context of risky entitlement yields; and the timing and nature of information regarding seasonal water availability and rainfall. Seasonal water markets facilitate the reallocation of water availability according to this short-run opportunity cost. Evidence from the market suggests that transactions costs are low and most of the existing constraints to trade in seasonal allocations are the result of hydrological conditions. Analysis of market data suggests that the price response of the market to water availability is much more pronounced in years of low rainfall. The implications of the paper for wider policy reform are that attention should be paid to improving property rights for the management of intertemporal risk before other reforms, such as broadening of permanent water markets and institutionalising environmental flows, are implemented. This is because these other reforms will change the spatial and temporal pattern of water use and thus affect reliability, which underpins the value of water in irrigated agriculture.

Suggested Citation

  • Brennan, Donna C., 2006. "Water policy reform in Australia: lessons from the Victorian seasonal water market," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(3), September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aareaj:116976
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/116976
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mike Young, 2000. "Market-based Opportunities to Improve Environmental Flows: A scoping paper," Natural Resource Management Economics 00_004, Policy and Economic Research Unit, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, Australia.
    2. Adamson, David & Mallawaarachchi, Thilak & Quiggin, John C., 2006. "State-contingent modelling of the Murray Darling Basin: implications for the design of property rights," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 137977, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    3. Mike Young, 2002. "A preliminary Assessment of the economic and social implications of Environmental Flow Scenarios for the Murray River System," Natural Resource Management Economics 02_009, Policy and Economic Research Unit, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, Australia.
    4. Freebairn, John W. & Quiggin, John C., 2006. "Water rights for variable supplies," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 50(3), September.
    5. Mike Young & Jim McColl, 2003. "Robust Reform: Implementing robust institutional arrangements to achieve efficient water use in Australia," Natural Resource Management Economics 03_003, Policy and Economic Research Unit, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, Australia.
    6. M. D. Young & J. C. McColl, 2003. "Robust Reform: The Case for a New Water Entitlement System for Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 225-234.
    7. John Freebairn, 2003. "Principles for the Allocation of Scarce Water," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 203-212.
    8. Appels, David & Douglas, Robert A. & Dwyer, Gavan, 2004. "Responsiveness of Demand for Irrigation Water: A Focus on the Southern Murray-Darling Basin," Staff Working Papers 31924, Productivity Commission.
    9. Qureshi, Muhammad Ejaz & Connor, Jeffery D. & Kirby, Mac & Mainuddin, Mohammed, 2005. "Integrated assessment and management of stochastic water resources in the Murray Darling Basin," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 137944, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Edwyna Harris, 2011. "The Impact of Institutional Path Dependence on Water Market Efficiency in Victoria, Australia," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 25(15), pages 4069-4080, December.
    2. M. Ejaz Qureshi & Jeff Connor & Mac Kirby & Mohammed Mainuddin, 2007. "Economic assessment of acquiring water for environmental flows in the Murray Basin ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(3), pages 283-303, September.
    3. Wheeler, Sarah Ann & Zuo, Alec & Bjornlund, Henning, 2014. "Investigating the delayed on-farm consequences of selling water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 72-82.
    4. Ansink, Erik & Houba, Harold, 2012. "Market power in water markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 237-252.
    5. repec:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:03:n:s2382624x16500429 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Donna Brennan, 2008. "Missing markets for storage and the potential economic cost of expanding the spatial scope of water trade," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 52(4), pages 471-485, December.
    7. Marnie Griffith & Gary Codner & Erwin Weinmann & Sergei Schreider, 2009. "Modelling hydroclimatic uncertainty and short-run irrigator decision making: the Goulburn system ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(4), pages 565-584, October.
    8. Broadbent, Craig D. & Brookshire, David S. & Coursey, Don & Tidwell, Vince, 2014. "An experimental analysis of water leasing markets focusing on the agricultural sector," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 88-98.
    9. Wheeler, Sarah Ann & Bjornlund, Henning & Shanahan, Martin & Zuo, Alec, 2008. "Price elasticity of water allocations demand in the Goulburn–Murray Irrigation District," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 52(1), March.
    10. Loch, Adam & Bjornlund, Henning & Wheeler, Sarah & Connor, Jeff, 2012. "Allocation trade in Australia: a qualitative understanding or irrigator motives and behaviour," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 56(1), March.
    11. Brooks, Robert & Harris, Edwyna, 2014. "Price leadership and information transmission in Australian water allocation markets," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 83-91.
    12. Chi Truong, 2012. "An Analysis of Storage Capacity Reallocation Impacts on the Irrigation Sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 51(1), pages 141-159, January.
    13. Raffensperger, John F., 2011. "Matching users' rights to available groundwater," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1041-1050, April.
    14. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0032-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:1071-:d:101981 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Marianne LEFEBVRE & Lata GANGADHARAN & Sophie THOYER, 2011. "Do Security-differentiated Water Rights Improve Efficiency?," Working Papers 11-14, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2012.

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