Institutional and Policy Analysis of River Basin Management: The Murray Darling River Basin, Australia

37 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2005

See all articles by William A. Blomquist

William A. Blomquist

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Ariel Dinar

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department

Brian Haisman

World Bank

Anjali Bhat

World Bank

Date Written: February 2005

Abstract

The authors describe and analyze management in the Murray-Darling basin of Australia, long regarded as a model for integrated river basin management. This interior basin of over 1 million km2 in semi-arid southeastern Australia is defined by the catchment areas of the Murray and Darling Rivers and their tributaries. Water management issues include allocation, quality, and dryland salinity. Because of Australia's federal governmental structure, institutional development has been more a matter of integrating state and local endeavors than decentralization of national authority. The Australian national government has little constitutional power over water resources. The five states in the basin make policy regarding water rights, discharge permits, fees, and the construction and operation of physical structures. River management began on the Murray River in the 1920s under the terms of a tri-state agreement. As the scope of management widened to the entire basin, more states were added and the national government supported the creation of new arrangements for integrated water resource management, with some provision for stakeholder participation. The dynamics of state-national authority over water policy, and the emergence in recent years of numerous local-level catchment organization, contribute to some uncertainty about the future course of basin management in this internationally renowned site.

This paper - a product of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to approach water policy issues in an integrated way. The study was funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget under the research project "Integrated River Basin Management and the Principle of Managing Water Resources at the Lowest Appropriate Level: When and Why Does It (Not) Work in Practice?"

Suggested Citation

Blomquist, William A. and Dinar, Ariel and Haisman, Brian and Bhat, Anjali, Institutional and Policy Analysis of River Basin Management: The Murray Darling River Basin, Australia (February 2005). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3527. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=673519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.673519

William A. Blomquist (Contact Author)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) ( email )

Department of Political Science
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-274-7547 (Phone)
317-278-3280 (Fax)

Ariel Dinar

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-0434 (Phone)

Brian Haisman

World Bank

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Anjali Bhat

World Bank

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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