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Drought and the rebound effect: a Murray–Darling Basin example

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  • Adam Loch
  • David Adamson

Abstract

Droughts are natural hazards, to which irrigators must adapt. Climate change is expected to increase both the frequency and severity of future droughts. A common adaptation is investment in water-efficient technology. However, increased efficiency can paradoxically result in rebound effects: higher resource demand among consumptive users, and lower flow benefits for environmental users. Under an assumption of increasing future drought conditions, we examine anticipated rebound effect impacts on environmental and private irrigator water availability/use outcomes from current water efficiency-centric policy in Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin. We determine that rebound effects for environmental and private irrigation interests are likely. Our results identify greater technological change and higher consumptive land and water demand in northern Basin annual production systems, as irrigators switch to perennial cropping systems under subsidization incentives. Policy incentives to encourage water use efficiency paradoxically reduce environmental flow volumes on average. We find that environmental policy objectives will only be achieved when water is not a binding production constraint, typically in wet states of nature. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

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  • Adam Loch & David Adamson, 2015. "Drought and the rebound effect: a Murray–Darling Basin example," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 79(3), pages 1429-1449, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:nathaz:v:79:y:2015:i:3:p:1429-1449
    DOI: 10.1007/s11069-015-1705-y
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    1. Neal Hughes & Manannan Donoghoe & Linden Whittle, 2020. "Farm Level Effects of On‐Farm Irrigation Infrastructure Programs in the Southern Murray–Darling Basin," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 53(4), pages 494-516, December.
    2. Mai, Thanh & Mushtaq, Shahbaz & Loch, Adam & Reardon-Smith, K. & An-Vo, Duc-Anh, 2019. "A systems thinking approach to water trade: Finding leverage for sustainable development," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 595-608.
    3. Jessica Bhardwaj & Yuriy Kuleshov & Andrew B. Watkins & Isabella Aitkenhead & Atifa Asghari, 2021. "Building capacity for a user-centred Integrated Early Warning System (I-EWS) for drought in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 107(1), pages 97-122, May.
    4. Mallawaarachchi, Thilak & Auricht, Christopher & Loch, Adam & Adamson, David & Quiggin, John, 2020. "Water allocation in Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin: Managing change under heightened uncertainty," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 345-369.
    5. Tristan D. Pearce & Evelyn H. Rodríguez & David Fawcett & James D. Ford, 2018. "How Is Australia Adapting to Climate Change Based on a Systematic Review?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(9), pages 1-14, September.
    6. Julio Berbel & Alfonso Expósito & Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín & Luciano Mateos, 2019. "Effects of the Irrigation Modernization in Spain 2002–2015," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 33(5), pages 1835-1849, March.
    7. Songjun Han & Di Xu & Zhiyong Yang, 2017. "Irrigation-Induced Changes in Evapotranspiration Demand of Awati Irrigation District, Northwest China: Weakening the Effects of Water Saving?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-12, August.
    8. Song, Jianfeng & Guo, Yanan & Wu, Pute & Sun, SHikun, 2018. "The Agricultural Water Rebound Effect in China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 497-506.
    9. Carlos Mario Gómez Gómez & C. D. Pérez-Blanco & David Adamson & Adam Loch, 2018. "Managing Water Scarcity at a River Basin Scale with Economic Instruments," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(01), pages 1-31, January.
    10. Senay, G. B. & Kagone, S. & Velpuri, Naga M., 2020. "Operational global actual evapotranspiration: development, evaluation, and dissemination," Papers published in Journals (Open Access), International Water Management Institute, pages 1-20(7):191.
    11. Claire Settre & Jeff Connor & Sarah Ann Wheeler, 2017. "Reviewing the Treatment of Uncertainty in Hydro-economic Modeling of the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(03), pages 1-35, July.
    12. Guifang Li & Dingyang Zhou & Minjun Shi, 2019. "How Do Farmers Respond to Water Resources Management Policy in the Heihe River Basin of China?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(7), pages 1-19, April.
    13. Wang, Yanyun & Long, Aihua & Xiang, Liyun & Deng, Xiaoya & Zhang, Pei & Hai, Yang & Wang, Jie & Li, Yang, 2020. "The verification of Jevons’ paradox of agricultural Water conservation in Tianshan District of China based on Water footprint," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 239(C).

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