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Associate Professor Sarah Wheeler

Telephone +61 8 8313 9130
Position Associate Professor
Building Nexus 10 Tower
Floor/Room 6
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Ctr Global Food & Resources

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Biography/ Background

Sarah is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow with Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide. She graduated with her PhD in 2007, and has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in the research areas of irrigated farming, organic farming, water markets, water scarcity, crime and gambling.

She is an Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and an Associate Editor of Water Resources and Economics. She has been a guest editor for a special issue of Agricultural Water Management and is currently on the editorial boards of Economics and Agricultural Science. Sarah is also the Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin working group of the Food, Energy, Environment and Water (FE2W) Network.

Sarah was born on an irrigated dairy farm in NSW, and grew up on a dryland mixed farm at the top of the Great Dividing Range in the New England region. She has worked as an economist both nationally and internationally, in places such as Rural Solutions South Australia, ESCAP United Nations (Bangkok), Environment Agency (UK) and the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies.


PhD Economics - University of South Australia (2007)

Bachelor Economics (Hons) - University of Adelaide (1996)

Research Interests

Environmental and Agricultural Economics
Organic Agriculture
Water Trading
Gambling and Crime

Research Funding

* 2015-2016 Loch, Wheeler, Young, Zuo UNESCO: Developing a water market readiness framework

* 2014-2018 Wheeler: ARC Future Fellow Adapting for an uncertain future: farmer behaviour in water-stressed basins
* 2014-2016 Wheeler, Loch, Bjornlund, Garrick, Boxall, Adamowicz: ARC Discovery Transitioning to a water secure future
* 2014 Wheeler: National Water Commission expert advisor
* 2013-2014 Wheeler, Zuo, Loch, Grafton: Federal Department of the Environment Survey of Users of the National Pollutant Inventory
* 2013-2017 Pittock, Ramshaw, Grafton, Stirzaker, Bjornlund, Wheeler, Loch, Zuo, Sibanda, Sullivan, Mbakwe, Munguambe, Nhabetse, Mdemu, Kashaigili, Lwena, Chitanda, Kapufi, Nyamangara, Rooyen, Moyo, Mashingaidze Homann- Kee Tui, Mawokomatanda, Thebe. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Increasing irrigation water productivity in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe through on-farm monitoring, adaptive management and Agricultural Innovation Platforms
* 2013 Wheeler, Loch: National Water Commission Expert Advisors
* 2011-2013 Wheeler, Bjornlund, Beecham, Shanahan, Zuo and Loch National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (Cat 1) Water Trade, Climate Change and Irrigator Adaptability in the Murray-Darling Basin
* 2011-2012 Wheeler, Cheesman: Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Survey of water sellers to the Restoring the Balance program
* 2009-2012 Wheeler, Bjornlund, Shanahan, Singh, Klein, Hatton-MacDonald: ARC Linkage, Partners = Murray Darling Basin Authority, Goulburn Murray Water, NSW Department of Energy and Water, Department of Sustainability and Environment and University of Lethbridge, CanadaImproving water market outcomes through a better understanding of market behaviour
* 2010-2011 Wheeler, Zuo: National Water Commission, Contribution to the evaluation of the National Water Initiative
* 2009 Wheeler: Horticulture Australia (through SARDI) Citrus thrips disease
* 2008 Bjornlund, Kuehne, Cheers, Wheeler: RIRDC and UniSA Div Business, Water Trading
* 2008 Wheeler: SA Centre for Economic Studies Gambling Research Tasmania
* 2007-2009 Wheeler, Round, Wilson: Vic. Department of Justice Gambling and Crime Research in Victoria
* 2006 Wheeler: SA Centre for Economic Studies Gambling Research South Australia


i. Books

Bjornlund, H.; Brebbia, C. and Wheeler, S. Eds. (2013) Sustainable Irrigation Management Technology and Policies IV, WITPress, Southampton.

Loch A, Wheeler S, Bjornlund H, Beecham S, Edwards J, Zuo A & Shanahan M (2013) The role of water markets in climate change adaptation. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 126 pp. ISBN: 978-1-925039-01-6.

ii. Refereed Journal Articles

Wheeler S, Zuo A, Bjornlund H, Mdemu M, Rooyen A and Munguambe P. (2016) “An overview of extension use in irrigated agriculture and case studies in south-eastern Africa” International Journal of Water Resources Development

Grafton, RQ, McLindin, M, Hussey, K, Wyrwoll, P, Wichelns, D, Ringler, C, Garrick, D, Pittock, J, Wheeler, S, Orr, S, Matthews, N, Ansink, E, Aureli, A, Connell, D, De Stefano, L, Dowsley, K, Farolfi, S, Hall, J, Katic, P, Lankford, B, Leckie, H, McCartney, M Pohlner, H, Ratna, N, Henry Rubarenzya, M, Sai Raman, S, Wheeler, K, Williams, J. (2016) “Responding to Global Challenges in Food, Energy, Environment and Water: Risks and Options Assessment for Decision-making (ROAD)”, Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, doi: 10.1002/app5.128

Zuo A., Wheeler S., Boxall P., Adamowicz V., Hatton-MacDonald D. (2016) “Measuring price elasticities of demand and supply of water entitlements based on stated and revealed preference data”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 98(1), 314-332

Nauges C., Wheeler S., Zuo A. (2016) “Elicitation of Murray-Darling Basin irrigators’ risk preferences from observed behaviour”, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 59, 1-17.

Douglas E., Wheeler S., Smith D., Overton I., Gray S., Crossman N. Doody T. (2016) “The role of stakeholders in Murray-Darling Basin water management: How do irrigators make water use decisions and how can this influence water policy?” Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 6, 1-12.

Loch A., Boxall P., Wheeler S. (2016) “Using proportional modelling to evaluate irrigator preferences for water buybacks for reallocation purposes”, Agricultural Economics, 47, 387-398.

Jaclyn N Brown, Hilary Bambrick, Snow Barlow, Dale Fallon, Judith Fernandez-Pique, Ailie Gallant, Gilly Hendrie, Uday Nidumolu, Tobin Northfield, Elvira Polozanska, Anne Roiko, Shilu Tong, Claudia Vickets, Sarah Ann Wheeler, (2016) “ln 30 years, how might climate change affect what you eat and drink?”, BAMOS, 29, pp. 22-27.

Grafton R.Q, Horne J., Wheeler S. (2016) "On the Marketisation of Water: Evidence from the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia", Water Resources Management , 30, 913-926

Zuo A, Wheeler S, Edwards J (2016) "Understanding and encouraging greater nature engagement in Australia: results from a national survey", Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59 1107-1125

Haensch J., Wheeler S., Zuo A, Bjornlund H (2016) “The impact of water and soil salinity on water market trading in the southern Murray Darling Basin”, Water Economics and Policy, 2, 1-26.

Wheeler S., Zuo A., Loch A. (2015) “Watering the farm: Comparing irrigated organic and conventional farm water use in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia”, Ecological Economics, 112, 78-85.

Zuo A., Wheeler S., Adamowicz V., Boxall P, Hatton-MacDonald D. (2015) "Identifying water prices at which Australian farmers will exit irrigation: results of a stated preference survey",Economic Record, 91 109-123

Zuo A., Nauges C., Wheeler S. (2015) “Farmers’ exposure to risk and their temporary water trading”, European Review of Agricultural Economics, 42(1): 1-24

Wheeler S. (2014) "Insights, lessons and benefits from improved regional water security and integration in Australia”, Water Resources and Economics, 8, 57-78.

Zuo A., Brooks R., Wheeler S, Harris E., Bjornlund H. (2014) ‘Understanding Irrigator Bidding Behavior in Australian Water Markets in Response to Uncertainty', Water 6, 3457-3477

Wheeler S., Zuo A., Bjornlund H. (2014) "Investigating the delayed on-farm consequences of selling water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin" Agricultural Water Management, 145, 72-82

Bjornlund H., Xu W., Wheeler S. (2014) “An overview of water sharing and participation issues for irrigators and their communities in Alberta: Implications for water policy”, Agricultural Water Management, 145, 171-180

Bjornlund H., Wheeler S. (2014) “Exploring some of the socio-economic realities of sustainable water management in irrigation: an overview”, Agricultural Water Management, 145, 1-4

Wheeler S., Loch A., Zuo A., Bjornlund H. (2014) “Reviewing the Adoption and Impact of Water Markets in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia”, Journal of Hydrology, 518, 28-41

Wheeler S., Zuo A., Hughes N. (2014) "The impact of water ownership and water market trade strategy on Australian irrigators’ farm viability" Agricultural Systems, 129, 81–92.

Loch A., Wheeler S., Boxall P, Hatton-MacDonald D, Adamowicz V. Bjornlund H (2014) ‘Irrigator preferences for Water for the Future budget expenditure’, Land Use Policy, 36, 396-404

Wheeler S, Zuo A., Bjornlund H (2014) "Australian irrigators’ recognition of the need for more environmental water flows and intentions to donate water allocations", Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 57, 104-122

Crisp, P., Baker, G., Wheeler, S. (2014) “Agronomic and sustainability outcomes from compost application in South Australian citrus orchards”, Acta Horticulturae, 1018, 457-464

Wheeler S, Cheesman J. (2013) "Key findings from a Survey of Sellers to the Restoring the Balance program", Economic Papers, 32, pp. 340-352

Connor J, Franklin B, Loch A, Kirby M, Wheeler S. (2013) "Trading water to improve environmental flow outcomes" Water Resources Research, 49, 4265-4276

Lane-Miller C., Wheeler S., Bjornlund H., Connor J. (2013) "Acquiring Water for the Environment: Lessons from Natural Resources Management", Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 15, 513-532

Bjornlund H, Zuo, A, Wheeler S, Xu W, Edwards J. (2013) "Policy preferences for water sharing in Alberta", Water Resources and Economics 1, 93-110

Wheeler S, Zuo A and Bjornlund H (2013) "Farmers’ climate change beliefs and adaptation strategies for a water scarce future in Australia", Global Environmental Change, 23, 537-547

Wheeler S, Garrick D, Loch A, and Bjornlund H (2013) "Evaluating water market products to acquire water for the environment in Australia", Land Use Policy, 30, 427–436

Wheeler, S., Bjornlund, H., Zuo A. and Edwards J. (2012). "Handing down the farm? The increasing uncertainty of irrigated farm succession in Australia", Journal of Rural Studies, 28, 266-275

Wheeler, S., Zuo, A. Bjornlund, H. and Lane-Miller C. (2012). "Selling the farm silver? Understanding water sales to the Australian Government", Environmental and Resource Economics, 52, 133-154

Loch A, Bjornlund H, Wheeler S and Connor J. (2012) “Trading in allocation water in Australia: a qualitative understanding of irrigator motives and behaviour”, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics,56, pp. 42–60

Wheeler S. (2011) “A need to wipe the slate clean? A review of organic farming policy in Australia’, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, Vol. 35 (8), 885-913

Wheeler S. and Crisp P. (2011) "Going organic in viticulture: a case study comparison in Clare Valley, South Australia" Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 18, 182-198

Bjornlund, H., Wheeler, S. (2011) “Water scarcity - Desperate solutions - Balancing the needs”,Water and Energy International, 68, 48-54

Morrison M, Wheeler S. and Hatton-MacDonald D.(2011) "Towards a more nuanced discussion of the net benefits of sharing water in the Murray-Darling Basin", Australian Farm Business Management Journal, 8 (2) 27-38

Wheeler S., Round R. and Wilson J. (2011) "The Relationship between Crime and Electronic Gaming Expenditure: Evidence from Victoria, Australia" Journal of Quantitative Criminology.27 (3), 315-338

Wheeler S., Bjornlund H., Zuo A. and Shanahan M. A. (2010) "The changing profile of water traders in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, Australia". Agricultural Water Management, 96, 121-131.

Wheeler S., Bjornlund H., Shanahan M. and Zuo A. (2009) "Who trades water? Evidence of the characteristics of early adopters in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District 1998-99". Agricultural Economics, Vol. 40, pp 631-643.

Wheeler S. (2009) “Exploring the Influences on Australian Agricultural Professionals' Genetic Engineering Beliefs: An Empirical Analysis", Journal of Technology Transfer, Vol. 34, pp.422-439

Wheeler S., Round D., Sarre R. and O’Neil M. (2008) “The Influence of Gaming Expenditure on Crime Rates in South Australia: A Local Area Empirical Investigation”, Journal of Gambling Studies, Vol. 24 pp. 1-24.

Wheeler S. (2008) “What Influences Agricultural Professionals' Views towards Organic Agriculture?” Ecological Economics, Vol. 65, pp. 145-154.

Hajkowicz S. and Wheeler S. (2008) "Evaluation of Dairy Effluent Management Options Using Multiple Criteria Analysis", Environmental Management, Vol. 41, pp. 613-624.

Wheeler S., Bjornlund H., Shanahan M. and Zuo A. (2008) “Price Elasticity of Allocations Water Demand in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District of Victoria, Australia”, Australian Journal of Agricultural Resource Economics, Vol. 52, pp. 37-55.

Wheeler S. (2008) “Barriers to the Adoption of Organic Farming and Genetic Engineering in Australia: Views of Agricultural Professionals”, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Vol. 23 pp. 161-170.

Wheeler S. (2008) “Exploring Professional Attitudes Towards Organic Farming, Genetic Engineering, Agricultural Sustainability And Research Issues In Australia”, Journal of Organic Systems, Vol. 3 pp. 37-56.

Wheeler S. (2007) “Contrasting the beliefs of Australian agricultural professionals about the benefits and costs of genetic engineering and organic agriculture”, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, Vol. 47, pp. 1389–1396.

Wheeler S. and Damania R. (2001) “Valuing New Zealand Recreational Fishing and an Assessment of the Validity of the Contingent Valuation Estimates”, Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 45 pp. 599-621.


ii. Book Chapters

 Settre C., S. Wheeler (forthcoming) “Acquiring Water and Trade”, in Avril Horne, Angus Webb, Michael Stewardson, Brian Richter and Mike Acreman (eds) Water for the environment:  Policy, Science, and Integrated Management, Elsevier

Haensch J, Wheeler S, Zuo A (forthcoming) “The Contribution of spatial analysis to water management: a case study of the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia”,  Advances in Environmental Research. Volume 51, Nova, New York. 

Wheeler S. (2016) “Water Markets in the Murray-Darling Basin”, in Griffin R. Water Resource Economics: The Analysis of Scarcity, Policies, and Projects, The MIT Press, 2nd Version.

 Palomo-Hierro, S, Settre, C, Loch, A, Wheeler, S. (2016). Mercados de agua en Australia y California. ¿Qué podemos aprender de ellos?, in: Gomez-Limon, J.A. y Calatrava, J. (eds.): Los mercados de agua en España: Presente y perspectivas. Fundación Cajamar, Almería Spain, pp. 317-344.

Wheeler S. Schoengold K., Bjornlund H. (2016) “Lessons to be learned from groundwater trading in Australia and the United States”, Jakeman T., Barreteau, O., Hunt, R.J., Rinaudo, J.-D., Ross, A. Integrated Groundwater Management: Concepts, Approaches and Challenges. Springer.

Settre C., S. Wheeler (2016) “Environmental Water Governance in the Murray-Darling Basin of Australia: The movement from regulation and engineering to economic-based instruments”, in G. Gregoriou and V. Ramiah (ed) Handbook of Environmental and Sustainable Finance, Elsevier New York.

Wheeler S., Rossini P., Bjornlund H., Spagnoletti S. (2016) “The returns to investing in water in Australia”, in G. Gregoriou and V. Ramiah (ed) Handbook of Environmental and Sustainable Finance, Elsevier New York.

Wheeler S., Bark R., Loch A., Connor J. (2015) “Agricultural Water Management”, in Ariel Dinar and Kurt Schwabe (eds) Handbook of Water Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Grafton RQ. and Wheeler S. (2015) “Water Economics”, in R. Halvorsen, D. Layton (eds) Handbook on the Economics of Natural Resources, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Crase L, O’Keefe S., Wheeler S., Kinoshita Y. (2015) “Water Trading in Australia: Understanding the Role of Policy and Serendipity”, in Burnett K., Howitt R. and Roumasset J. (eds) Water Institutions and Economics Handbook, RFF/Routlage.

Wheeler S., Bjornlund H. and Loch A. (2014) “Water trading in Australia: Tracing its’ development and impact over the past three decades”, in K. William Easter and Qiuqiong Huang (eds) Water Markets for the 21st Century: What we have learned. Westview press.

Bjornlund H, Zuo, A., Wheeler S, Xu W. (2014) “Exploring the Reluctance to Embrace Water Markets in Alberta, Canada”, in K. William Easter and Qiuqiong Huang (eds) Water Markets for the 21st Century: What we have learned. Westview press.

Wheeler S. Loch A. Edwards J. (2014) “Water Market Participation and Adaptation for an uncertain water future in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia”, in J. Palutikof, S. Boulter, J. Barnett, D. Rissik (eds) Applied studies in climate adaptation. Wiley, Oxford.

Loch A, Wheeler S., Adamson D. (2014) “Lessons for managing water in the Murray-Darling Basin”, in Vic Squires, Katherine Daniell, Hugh Milner (eds) River Basin Management in the twenty-first century: People and Place, CRC Press, Boca Raton, 275-303

Bjornlund, H., Wheeler, S. and Rossini, P. (2013) "Water Markets and Their Environmental, Social and Economic Impact in Australia". In Maestu, J. Ed. Water Trading and Global Water Scarcity: International Perspectives. RFF Press/Taylor and Francis/Routledge

Wheeler S, Zuo A. and Bjornlund, H. (2013) "Selling Water for the Environment: How sustainable is it for Irrigators?”, Sustainable Irrigation Management Technology and Policies IV, WITPress, Southampton

Zuo A., Wheeler S, Bjornlund, H. and Shanahan M. (2013) "The association between farm management strategies and irrigators’ farm profits over time in the Murray-Darling Basin”,Sustainable Irrigation Management Technology and Policies IV, WITPress, Southampton.

Bjornlund H., Wheeler S., Cheesman J. (2011) “Irrigators, water trading, the environment, and debt: Perspectives and realities of buying water entitlements for the environment”, Basin Futures: Water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, Grafton, Q. and D. Connell, eds. Australia National University Press, pp 291-302

Wheeler, S, Miller, C, Zuo, A & Bjornlund, H (2011), ‘Factor analysis identifying key values held by South Australian and Victorian irrigators in a time of severe drought, in Brebbia C and Popov V (eds) Water Resources Management VI, WITpress, UK, pp609-620

Zuo, A Wheeler, S, Bjornlund, H (2011), ‘Analysing the drivers of irrigator drought strategies in the Southern Murray-Darling Basin, in Brebbia C and Popov V (eds) Water Resources Management VI, WITpress, UK, pp597-607

Bjornlund, H, Zuo, A, Parrack C, Wheeler, S, and de Loe R (2011), ‘Water reallocation policies: public perceptions’, in Brebbia C and Popov V (eds) Water Resources Management VI, WITpress, UK, pp585-595

Wheeler, S, Bjornlund, H, Olsen T., Klein K., and Nicol L. (2010): Modelling the adoption of different types of irrigation water technology in Alberta, Canada. In Brebbia, Marinov and Bjornlund Eds. Sustainable Irrigation III, WITPress

Shanahan M., Wheeler S. and Bjornlund H. (2010) "Towards more sustainable irrigation: factors influencing allocation and entitlement prices and demand in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District of Australia", in Bjornlund H. Ed. Incentives and Instruments for Sustainable Irrigation, Chapter 8.

Wheeler S. (2009) “The Paradigmatic Nature of Organic Farming: Exploring the Views of Agricultural Professionals towards Organic Farming and Genetic Engineering Further”, inOrganic Farming: Methods, Economics and Structure, Nova Science Publications, New York. This chapter was also reprinted (2010) in Organic Farming and Peanut Crops, Nova Science Publications, New York.

Wheeler S. (2008) “The Influence of Market and Agricultural Policy Signals on the Level of Organic Farming” in Organic Farming, ICFAI Research Centre, India.

Professional Associations

AARES (Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society)

Food, Energy, Environment and Water Network (FE2W)

International Water Resource Economists Consortium

Centre for Water Economics and Policy, ANU

Centre for Water Policy and Management, La Trobe University

Independent Gambling Research Consortium, University of Adelaide

International Association of Agricultural Economists

Entry last updated: Tuesday, 25 Oct 2016

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