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Improving the Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Regional Water Security in Australia's Capital Cities

Congress: 2008
AbstractConference Theme: Water Governance and Water Security - Improving Legal and Institutional Frameworks Improving the Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Regional Water Security in Australia’s Capital Cities By Maria P. Comino Introduction With the growth of large regional urban populations around each of Australia’s State capital cities, and worsening drought periods, there has been a strong focus on the need to ensure greater regional water security for these urbanising populations. Objective The objective is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of recent legal frameworks and institutional arrangements established to achieve improved regional water security in Australia’s cities. Method and Results This paper will consider the improved legislative framework and institutional arrangements established in Australia’s fastest growing region, South East Queensland, to combat the State’s worst drought. Those arrangements include the new Queensland Water Commission that provides independent advice to Government on regional water security options that address levels of service objectives, as well as pricing and cost recovery approaches. The paper will consider the strengthened decision-making processes for managing urban water supply and demand management within the environmental constraints protected under the State’s water resource planning process. It will include consideration of a Water Grid Manager who will be responsible for managing water in the grid, and the new governance arrangements for water businesses in the region. Comparisons will be made with the legal and institutional frameworks for improving regional water security for the Sydney water supply system, which is similarly confronting drought at a time of population growth. Conclusions The paper will identify the key characteristics and features of legal and institutional arrangements that seek to promote the achievement of regional urban water security within broader resource management objectives. Author: Maria P. Comino, Manager Legislation and Implementation, Department of Water and Energy, Sydney, Australia Email: Phone: +61 424 488 443
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