Working towards sound water policy and resilient landscapes
Today is World Water Day!
According to reports from World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home and globally, 80% of the people who have to use unsafe and unprotected water resources live in rural areas. The theme for this year’s World Water Day is ‘Leaving no one behind’ which is underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: ‘Water for all by 2030’.
As well as the fact we are one of the few universities in the world who teaches a course on water economics (e.g. Water Security and Governance), in today’s blog we highlight some of the work Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) academics and researchers are doing in the area of water policy and resilient landscapes. Some of our researcher are focusing on the Murray Darling Basin, others are working internationally.
In the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), researchers in GFAR are exploring issues such as irrigator behaviour, environmental vs agricultural water use, and the design and operation of water markets. Further, our researchers are applying
MDB projects include:
- A future fellowship project funded by Australian Research Council (ARC) of farmer behaviour in water-stressed basinsis developing a greater understanding of farm behaviour and adaptation to water stress and drought. By developing a greater understanding of the drivers of farm exit across the Murray-Darling Basin; and identifying some of the consequences of non-adaptation for farmers (such as drivers associated with farmer suicide and mental health issues), our research aims to provide solutions that enable farmers to adapt for an uncertain future. It also considers the path of water policy and adaptation in the MDB, and looks at the issues of environmental flows and the performance of irrigation infrastructure programs. This project involves Prof. Sarah Wheeler, Assoc. Prof. Alec Zuo, Dr. Adam Loch, Dr. Ying Xu, PhD students Benjamin Fee, James Fuller, Constantin Seidl, Sahar Daghagh Yazd and recent PhD graduates Dr. Juliane Haensch and Dr. Claire Settre.
- Other work funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) explored the transaction costs of water markets, the impact of impediments and policy in water markets; how further water market products may increase water market efficiency in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). Prof. Sarah Wheeler, Assoc. Prof. Alec Zuo, Dr. Adam Loch, PhD student Constantin Seidl and recent PhD graduates Dr. Juliane Haensch and Dr. Claire Settre were involved in the project. A book on global water markets is currently in process that has 15 different case studies on the feasibility of water markets around the world.
- Senior research fellow Dr David Adamson through the funding from Australian Research Council (ARC)’s Discovery Early career researcher award fellowship is conducting research to examine how the national benefits from returning water to the environment in Australia’s MDB could be maximised. Currently no economic modelling of the MDB Plan’s implementation exists, and without an informed debate of the feasibility of the strategies that could be implemented, the trade-offs between alternative water users (economic, social and environmental) cannot be determined.
Our international research includes
- Prof. Mike Young is leading the development of international guidelines for the development of robust water sharing systems in any part of the world where water is scarce that is being developed in partnership with the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
- Prof. Mike Young is involved in the development of groundwater sharing systems in the US states of California and Nevada.
- Dr. Adam Loch and Prof. Mike Young have just completed supervising Tien Dung Khong’s thesis on options for the management of the effects of climate change on agricultural production in the Mekong River Delta.
- Dr. Adam Loch and Prof. Mike Young are also co-supervising Sitti Rahma Ma’Mun’s PhD that involves the assessment of the robustness of over 50 irrigation water management systems in and the evaluation of options to improve water management in Indonesia.
- Prof. Sarah Wheeler is a contributing to an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded project led by University of South Australia (UniSA) in south Asia aimed at improving analytical skills and understanding of policy makers and irrigation officials, specifically as they relate to Participatory Irrigation Management and Irrigation Management Transfer. In particular, it focuses on irrigation in Bihar and Assam, east India, and Sindh and Punjab provinces, Pakistan.
- Prof. Sarah Wheeler and Assoc. Prof. Alec Zuo are also involved in a project funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and led by Australian National University (ANU) that aims to increase irrigation water productivity and change farmer behaviour across six irrigation districts in three south-eastern African countries of Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
More information on our research in the area of water policy is available here.