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IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Diwakara HALANAIK
Jennifer MCKAY and Steve BARNETT

Diwakara HALANAIK 1 , Jennifer MCKAY2 and Steve BARNETT3

1) PhD Scholar, Member Water Policy and Law Group, School of International Business, University of South Australia, P.O.Box 2471, Adelaide SA 5001 Australia, Ph: +61 (08) 83020749, Fax: +61 (08) 83020512 Email:

2) Professor of Business Law, Director Water Policy and Law Group, School of international Business, University of South Australia, P.O.Box 2471, Adelaide SA 5001 Australia, Ph: +61 (08) 83020887, Fax: +61 (08) 83020512 Email:

3) Principal Geologist, Groundwater Assessment, Dept of Land, Water and Biodiversity Conservation, Government of South Australia, P.O.Box 2834, Adelaide, SA, Australia, Ph +61 (08) 8463 6950, Fax: +61 (08) 8463 6999, Email:



In the recent past, water policy has become a vital issue in many parts of the world. This is evident in the countries fraught with acute water scarcity. Water policy in most countries has reflected the perception that water is not scarce. It has been underdeveloped and heavily focussed on supply driven construction and free access arrangements. The free access arrangements creating local commons often end up with overallocation of water and inequitable uses with unsustainable agriculture being promoted. The millennium issues of increased population growth and unchecked exploitation, has led to ecological and environmental damage and economic losses in groundwater resources.

In Australia, neither the urban nor irrigation users have paid a price for water itself; they have merely paid a price for treatment and delivery of services. Even that amount has not been properly costed and wealthy farmers or businesses have been able to access more water for irrigation, often from deeper aquifers which are expensive to develop. The impacts of this development may adversely affect other farmers who rely on groundwater for stock and domestic purposes, and thus create inequity in access to groundwater resources. In India, some of the policies introduced to overcome this inequity include subsidised power and loans, investment on community wells and promotions of water markets. In spite of these policies, there is still a large difference between small and large farms mainly because of huge capital investments involved and the presence of skewed distribution of land holdings (Nagaraj, 1999).

Global experience has indicated that some large scale irrigation schemes have often failed in achieving efficiency in water use and cost recovery due to lack of effective and sustainable institutional arrangements. The predicaments in managing groundwater resource become more pervasive when extraction exceeds sustainable yield. The aim of this study is analyse the costsharing scheme as a tool in sustainable groundwater management policy in Australia and to review similar arrangements in other countries and to make suggestions for improvements to the scheme. First, we provide summary of cost-sharing arrangements in USA for groundwater conservation and then we discuss Australian cost-sharing schemes in detail. Globally costsharing schemes in groundwater irrigation areas are minimal therefore, an attempt is made to present cost-sharing arrangements aiming to conserve groundwater resource.

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