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Improving Cost Effectiveness of Irrigation Zoning for Salinity Mitigation by Introducing Offsets

Listed author(s):
  • Thomas Spencer
  • Tihomir Ancev


  • Jeff Connor

Irrigation induced salinity is adversely affecting the agricultural industry and the environment in many countries around the world. Spatial location of irrigation enterprises has been identified as one important factor that needs to be taken into account by policies aimed at mitigating salinity. In particular, policies aimed at restricting the location of irrigation enterprises have been recently proposed to address the irrigation induced salinity problem. This article compares and contrasts the costs of two versions of such a policy: a standalone irrigation zoning policy, where new irrigation enterprises are only allowed to locate in low salinity impact zones; and a salinity offsetting policy, where new irrigation enterprises can locate in high salinity impact zones, provided that they offset their salinity impact elsewhere. A key finding is that the offsetting policy is both less costly and more effective in reducing salinity than a standalone irrigation zoning policy. This is due to the presence of incentives for choosing “optimal” location of irrigation enterprises when the costs of salinity offsets are taken into account. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

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Article provided by Springer & European Water Resources Association (EWRA) in its journal Water Resources Management.

Volume (Year): 23 (2009)
Issue (Month): 10 (August)
Pages: 2085-2100

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Handle: RePEc:spr:waterr:v:23:y:2009:i:10:p:2085-2100
DOI: 10.1007/s11269-008-9371-4
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  1. David Adamson & Thilak Mallawaarachchi & John Quiggin, 2007. "Water use and salinity in the Murray-Darling Basin: A state-contingent model ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 51(3), pages 263-281, September.
  2. Quiggin, John C., 2001. "Environmental economics and the Murray-Darling river system," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(1), March.
  3. Sophie Legras & Robert Lifran, 2006. "Designing Water Markets to Manage Coupled Externalities : a Preliminary Analysis," Working Papers 06-11, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Nov 2006.
  4. Dinar, Ariel & Letey, J., 1991. "Agricultural water marketing, allocative efficiency, and drainage reduction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 210-223, May.
  5. Charlotte Duke & Lata Gangadharan, 2005. "Regulation in Environmental Markets: What Can We Learn from Experiments to Reduce Salinity?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(4), pages 459-469, December.
  6. Randall, Alan & Taylor, Michael A., 2000. "Incentive-Based Solutions to Agricultural Environmental Problems: Recent Developments in Theory and Practice," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 221-234, August.
  7. Jeffery Connor, 2003. "Reducing the cost of South Australia of achieving agreed salinity targets in the River Murray," Natural Resource Management Economics 03_005, Policy and Economic Research Unit, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, Australia.
  8. Laura McCann & K. William Easter, 1999. "Transaction Costs of Policies to Reduce Agricultural Phosphorous Pollution in the Minnesota River," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(3), pages 402-414.
  9. Heaney, Anna & Beare, Stephen & Bell, Rosalyn, 2001. "Evaluating improvements in irrigation efficiency as a salinity mitigation option in the South Australian Riverland," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(3), September.
  10. I. Heinz & M. Pulido-Velazquez & J. Lund & J. Andreu, 2007. "Hydro-economic Modeling in River Basin Management: Implications and Applications for the European Water Framework Directive," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 21(7), pages 1103-1125, July.
  11. Randall, Alan & Taylor, Michael A., 2000. "Incentive-Based Solutions To Agricultural Environmental Problems: Recent Developments In Theory And Practice," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(02), August.
  12. Kobrich, C. & Rehman, T. & Khan, M., 2003. "Typification of farming systems for constructing representative farm models: two illustrations of the application of multi-variate analyses in Chile and Pakistan," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 141-157, April.
  13. Jeffery Connor & John Ward, 2004. "Trialing incentive based policy to control dryland salinity in the Bet Bet Catchment, north central Victoria," Natural Resource Management Economics 04_01, Policy and Economic Research Unit, CSIRO Land and Water, Adelaide, Australia.
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