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EJA Holley

February 2015

Cameron Holley

on 13 February 2015

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Transcript of EJA Holley

Involving non-urban

Thank you for listening


Non-urban water users

How can we better involve water users?
Why non-urban?
Research methods

partnership with state regulators, CMAs/LLS and community committees
doctrinal analysis
100+ interviews
representative sample of key interests - government, farming, indigenous, environmental, industry and other stakeholders
4000 water users
high risk of illegal water extraction because of a lack of awareness of the rules

Also undermines law as deterrent
is the right thing to do (95%)
unfair to other water users (93%)
reflects badly on all water users (84%)
reflects badly on peer reputation (81%)
criminal record (62%)
penalties (35%)
Recent findings on involving water users in governance
Self Management
National Water Reforms (COAG 1994; National Water Initiative 2004)

high-level national agreement implemented by states (NWI 2004)

separated land and water rights
vested water rights/entitlements with individual users
defined a consumptive pool through
collaborative water plans
created a
trading system to resolve water use conflicts
established an
regulatory regime
to ensure adherence to entitlements and prevent illegal extraction

Water Crisis
Governance Response
Some success - but missed opportunities from a legacy of disengaged water users

provide legal and policy guidance to reshape their engagement through compliance and enforcement strategies and other decision making processes (e.g. planning/self management)

enhance environmental sustainability
ensure meaningful collaborative community engagement
establish Australia as a leader in best practice water law, governance and citizenship

Future research
nexus of water, mining and gas
What research is being conducted?
Significant praise

reform process is far from complete (e.g. compliance)
taking many different forms in different states
challenges/difficulties (e.g. overallocation/full allocation)

still many unresolved questions about how we effectively, efficiently and legitimately achieve sustainable water management in Australia (Tan et al 2013; NWC 2014)
‘There is an urgent need to broaden the constituency of civic engagement with water in a more meaningful manner...and to explore governance arrangements that will achieve outcomes in an equitable, effective way’ (Godden & Ison 2010)
1. Improve the effectiveness and legitimacy of traditional approaches
2. Design new mechanisms to supplement traditional approaches
Thanks to Darren Sinclair, the Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre (UNSW), the ARC, NSW Office of Water, the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training and interview/survey participants and Bruce Lindsay & Nicola Rivers
local knowledge vital to managing water (enhance decisions/monitoring)
increase buy-in and ownership (reduce conflict, enhance compliance)
resources (reduce costs to enforcement agencies)
forms of social control (peer pressure)
influence social context and remote causes of water crimes (building understanding/trust/social capital)
(Ayling 2013; Graboksy and Grant 2010; Karkkainen 2001)
Instrumental benefits
Engaging water users to enhance governance?
"There hasn’t been any office of water inspectors here for a very long time. There is a lack of resourcing, no staff here"

only 35% agreed that government officers had provided assistance in meeting compliance obligations

51% want more information about compliance and enforcement

50% agree there is compliance with licence conditions in their region

Compliance and Enforcement
ongoing project...
funding about ongoing engagement - avoiding one shot
plain language education and information guides on water law
increasing officer interaction on ground
tapping into existing local networks
Resolving these issues?
Pre-conditions likely to increase success of self- management:

Smaller size/scale
Farmers see a benefit (ownership)
Supportive government (devolution)
Strong regulatory regime (shadow of the law)
Existing organizational structure
Robust monitoring system (Ostrom 1990)


Small group of active irrigators – 30 farmers
Farmers want to self-manage seasonally variable targets, subject to NSW Office of Water (NOW) oversight
Farmers proposed concept…but 10 years of inaction

Farmers - “the [proposal] fell over because farmers were not respected, and could not be trusted to manage the groundwater”

NOW - no such undertaking was given, nor did they receive any written proposals to that effect

Zone 1 – NSW

Up front costs for farmers

Wider applicability
capacity/skills of farmers
“moving beyond existing irrigation schemes is limited. You got to have a shared source of water”
“ASM works best where people want to be in it and they see a benefit. It’s a waste of time as a regulator trying to get people involved if they don’t give a stuff”
Size matters

Legitimacy with wider stakeholders (environmental NGOs)
“They see it as putting the fox in charge of the hen house”

ASM in NZ - Challenges

Strong support/interest in ASM from farmers and regulators

“industry are excited because they see it as way to stave off regulation and to put themselves in a better position economic wise, while regulators see it as away to devolve responsibilities to other bodies”

Economic benefits for farmers

“we can do more together than individually” (e.g. bulk technology purchase, flexibility)

“we can smooth out the bumps by pooling our water…letting croppers pump extra around Christmas and dairy farmers extra around winter, you know, getting that bit extra when they really need it”

Improved buy-in/stewardship

“its shifting minds away from complying with licences or consents to encouraging ownership of the water, so its no longer the government’s water but its our water, our group owns it and if an individual takes water he is taking our water”

ASM in NZ – Mixed success

Variety of forms, but defined by common characteristics:

water users form a legal entity/collective
entity allocated a water right for members as a whole
establish objectives for water quantity and quality
management system among members of collective
monitoring and reporting of performance
telemetry/real time data

Audited Self-Management (ASM)

self-governing of groundwater basins and emerging landowner associations in USA (Wagner et al 2007; Blomquist 1992)

management of common pool resources in countries such as India, Mexico and Spain (Foster et al 2010; Ostrom 1990)

regional and local community organizations under the Resource Management Act 1991 and Local Government Act 2002 in New Zealand (Jenkins 2007; McCallum et al 2007; Curtis & Heiler 2010)

more limited in Australia: water cooperatives for surface water irrigation in Australia (Baldwin 2008; Baldwin, Hamstead, Uhlmann 2008)

Examples of Self-Management

Funding/incentives for monitoring technologies

Funding and training for farmers (e.g. reduce transaction costs)

Engaging NGOs and other water citizens in decision making and oversight

Supporting self-management

Engage agricultural water users from the bottom-up - place based around aquifers/rivers

Collectively manage water (Wester, Sandoval and Hoogesteger 2011)

Agricultural Self-Management?

(Sharp & Curtis 2012)

Self-management largely in surface water irrigation (Baldwin, Hamstead, Uhlmann 2008)

Farmers in a groundwater context see a general benefit

Australia – limited success

Peer Pressure - “every member can go in and see what their neighbours are doing and if they go over their entitlements we get very angry...its absolute transparency. The system takes away the risk of abuse”

Safety Net - “the collective don’t see themselves as the policeman, but you’ll get spanked a few times by your peers and if that doesn’t work then the regulator takes over”

Responsiveness - “its fundamental that they have telemetry. You need to be able to see in real time what your water level is and what its impacts are…it also allows you to take quick action and prevent further breaches by responding as they happen rather than on an annual basis”

Success cont’d

Various pilots underway

Eiffelton (12 farmers, existing irrigation scheme, groundwater pumped into channels)
Opuha Dam (220 farmers, dam, river as delivery channel into aquifers)
Full transcript