Water Markets and Scarcity: Australia’s Murray Darling Basin and the US Southwest
Water markets in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin and the western US are compared in terms of their ability to mitigate water scarcity. The two regions share: (1) climate variability that requires large investment in water storages; (2) the need for internal and cross-border (state) water management; (3) an historical over allocation of water to irrigators; and (4) increasing competition among different uses (agricultural, environmental and recreational in situ uses, urban demand). The evaluation of the two markets suggests that on-going water market reform along with processes to account for the public interest can promote equity, environmental sustainability and economic efficiency.
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