Rules for the Magic Pudding: Managing Lockyer Groundwater

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Description: Groundwater resources are often referred to as the 'The Magic Pudding' after Norman Lindsay's Australian bush tale, because of its apparent never-ending availability. As a common pool resource however, without rules to constrain use of groundwater, all users will eventually be affected by diminished flows. This research refers to the case of the Lockyer valley west of Brisbane where inadequate regulation of groundwater extraction for agriculture has led to inequitable and decreased availability and use. As part of the broader Queensland government water planning process, Lockyer irrigators have proposed a system of co-management to meet a number of their values for procedural and distributional fairness, triple bottom line sustainability, and stewardship of the resource while at the same time meeting basic needs for security, self-sufficiency, and sense of belonging. Just as rules were needed to manage the unruly Magic Pudding, protect it from thieves and to maintain social norms, a set of rules for self-governance of common pool resources developed by Ostrom can be applied to the Lockyer to maintain viability, long-term sustainable use, and a sense of community. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
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