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EHA : Yearkbook 2009
EHA YEARBOOK 2009 55 national scientific approach to list the ecosystems most in need of watering. Trading water The water market remains the centrepiece of national water reform. However, Australian Water Reform 2009 finds that the 4 per cent limit on water being traded out of certain irrigation areas in a year has “impeded the use of buyback programs, unfairly and arbitrarily penalised willing sellers...distorted patterns of water trade...inhibited structural change and complicated interstate collaboration”. Adjusting to change Structural adjustment is pivotal to water reform. The Commission urges that all artificial barriers, impediments and subsidies that interfere with this process must be removed, as they only protract the pain and delay the arrival of a truly sustainable water system and viable regional economies. This will allow users to make their own best decisions about whether and when to buy or sell water. The unavoidable fact for Australia’s irrigation industry is that there will probably be a lot less water available in future for irrigated agriculture. It is vital for irrigators to know what they are facing, so they can make plans accordingly. Conclusion While there have been significant improvements to methods for determining and monitoring environmental assets, further work is needed to more clearly link environmental water requirements to water planning objectives. In general, water plans need to better incorporate climate change, interception activities and surface-groundwater connectivity. The Murray-Darling Basin Plan provides an historic opportunity to put in place systematic and transparent processes to identify environmental outcomes and prioritise water to meet those outcomes in the MDB. Further and faster reform is also essential if we are to give Australia's rivers and wetlands their fair share. National Water Commission Driving water reform in Australia Through its bienniel assessments, the Commission reports to COAG on progress towards implementing the commitments agreed by the Australian, state and territory governments under the National Water Initiative. The Commission’s recently published second biennial assessment found that despite some progress, the pace of water reform has slowed on almost every front. In its recommendations to COAG, the Commission has called on governments to commit to a renewed round of national water reform. specifc aspects of water management such as the performance of urban water utilities and rural water service providers, the operation of Australian water markets, and the impacts of water trading. Through its $250 million Raising National Water Standards Program, the Commission invests in projects to advance water reform and improve water management. The Commission also provides leadership by being a catalyst for water reform. Waterlines reports are regularly published to boost understanding and awareness of water management issues. Position statements are released to improve the quality of debate about water challenges and recommend actions vital to advance reform. Managing our water more efectively is one of the greatest challenges facing Australia. The National Water Commission is responsible for driving national water reform under the National Water Initiative - Australia’s blueprint for how water will be managed into the future. National imperatives for water management include more efective water planning to determine how we share valuable water resources between competing uses, protection of signifcant environmental assets, expansion of water markets, and improved security of water supplies and entitlements. The Commission provides advice to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the Australian Government on national water issues. To advance its reform objectives, the Commission also reports regularly on For more information, visit the Commission’s website - www.nwc.gov.au. WATER FEATURE National Water Commission Troubled Waters: Climate change raises the bar (continued)
Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
EHA Yearbook 2010