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Drought and its role in shaping Water Policy in Australia Matt Kendall General Manager, Sustainable Water Management Group National Water Commission International Drought Symposium Riverside California, 26 March 2010 Presentation Overview 1. Australia’s water resources 2. The role of drought in shaping water policy in Australia 3. The Federation Drought 1895-1902 – Australian Federal Convention – Clause 100 of Constitution – Towards a River Murray Commission 4. The Millennium Drought 2002-2009 – Australia’s National Water Initiative – National Plan for Water Security & the Federal Water Act 2007 – Murray-Darling Basin Authority & the “Basin Plan” 5. Australian progress with water reform and future challenges Australia – a federal system Water is mainly a State responsibility (Clause 100 of Constitution) Trans-boundary issues NORTHERN TERRITORY QUEENSLAND especially Murray-Darling and Great Artesian Basins WESTERN AUSTRALIA SOUTH Federal Government AUSTRALIA NEW SOUTH WALES involved in policy leadership, planning and VICTORIA A.C.T AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY funding CAPITAL CITIES TASMANIA MURRAY-DARLING BASIN Australia - Landscape • Geologically old, flat country – in the low rainfall latitudes • Extensive dry areas – desert and semi-desert • High variability within and between seasons – drought and flood, high evaporation • Southern Oscillation: Drought – El Nino, Floods – La Nina • Most industry in the south, most run-off in the north – but few water storage opportunities • In the south, most available water already captured • Surface water 70%, Groundwater 30% and growing importance • ... and a growing climate change signal Australian river flows are highly variable RATIO BETWEEN THE COUNTRY RIVER MAXIMUM and the MINIMUM ANNUAL FLOWS BRAZIL AMAZON 1.3 SWITZERLAND RHINE 1.9 CHINA YANGTZE 2.0 SUDAN WHITE NILE 2.4 USA POTOMAC 3.9 SOUTH AFRICA ORANGE 16.9 AUSTRALIA MURRAY 15.5 AUSTRALIA HUNTER 54.3 Source: Chartres C.J. & Williams J., 2006 Water use per capita Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2005 Distribution of Australia’s surface runoff 20.3% 23.3% 1.0% 0.4% 21.1% 1.9% 0.3% 0% 1.7% 6.1% 10.6% Source: Water and the Australian Economy 13.3% – April 1999 Major Australian Droughts 1895-2010 Drought years Dry years in drought Comment sequence 1895-1902 1902 Federation Drought 1914-1915 1937-1945 1940, 1944 1965-1968 1982-1983 1982 1991-1995 2002-2009 1997, 2002, 2006 Millennium drought Drought – the last 10 years Australia’s Federation Drought 1895-1902 • Australia’s greatest natural disaster to-date • Water management discussed at 1897/8 Australian Federal Convention – leads to drafting of Clause 100 giving States powers for water mgmt • February 1902 – concerns for Sydney’s water supply • 26 Feb 1902 – NSW declares day of humiliation and “prayer for rain” • Lowest wheat crop of the century • Returning to her homeland Dame Nellie Melba “shocked and disgusted” • Darling River runs dry at Bourke, Murray riverboat travel severely disrupted • Sheep and cattle numbers devastated (Sheep 91 to 54 m, Cattle 11.8 to 7 m) • Spurs interest in co-operative management of River Murray, Corowa Water conference in 1902 but no River Murray Commission till 1915 • Dorothea McKellar pens My Country “....of drought and flooding rains” Australia’s Millennium Drought Rainfall for the seven years 2002-2008 Drought impacts on environment Clayton Bay, River Murray Lower Lakes Drought impacts on farmers, communities Drought impacts on Urban Water Annual Inflows to Urban Dams have declined Average urban household consumption (GL) in Australia (37% reduction in 6 years) 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 Urban Water Supply/Demand Options – Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle $10.00 $9.30 $9.00 $8.00 $7.00 $6.00 $6.00 $5.60 $5.00 $/kL $5.00 $4.00 $4.00 $3.00 $3.00 $3.00 $2.61 $3.00 $2.00 $1.45 $1.50 $1.58 $1.30 $1.68 $1.00 $1.15 $1.30 $0.25 $0.30 $0.63 $0.00 $0.10 $0.20 $0.15 $0.06 $0.08 $0.00 $0.22 g er se X r s n er n ng es e t en e nk in io tio us SI at at at u lin ni cl at em ta BA re uc re dw w w in cy pe lin er d th n ce er e ag un re sa pi re tio bl at at t rfa an en ro ta er de ce a nw ss w ig su po G m at m m an Lo er irr ai w ch or d d ct st R at an e an e St at re di aw s bl em ha C di s ng ta Se am In rc po D Lo Pu D on Source: Marsden Jacob (2006) report to Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet N Australia’s Millennium Drought 1997-2009 “Two droughts within a drought” 2002 • Oct 2002 – Farmhand Foundation – Australia’s richest business identities call for Government to drought-proof Australia, turn the rivers inland, develop national water grid • Nov 2002 - Wentworth Group of concerned scientists – warned of environmental catastrophe if rivers turned inland, and promoted water reform objectives • 2003 – Water policy by National Farmers Federation, Australian Conservation Foundation • June 2004 National Water Initiative agreed by Commonwealth and State/Territory governments • 2004 National Water Commission established to “Drive national water reform” • $2bn Australian Government Water Fund established Australia’s Millennium Drought 1997-2009 “Two droughts within a drought” 2006 • 2006 Toowoomba recycled water referendum, followed by Qld Premier Peter Beattie recycled water “Armageddon solution” • 2006 Melbourne Cup Day Summit – Prime Minister & First Ministers • Jan 2007 Prime Ministers Australia Day Address $10BN National Plan for Water Security • April 2007 Prime Minister calls on nation to “pray for rain” • Capital cities implement severe restrictions: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth • Commonwealth Water Act 2007 (Amended 2008) • Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Basin Plan • Water for the Future $12.9 BN National Water Commission 1. Advance the COAG National Water Initiative 2. Report on progress in national water reform 3. Advise, government, Minister, COAG on water 4. Audit implementation of water plans 5. Advise on reform progress by the States for Federal performance payments Drive the national water reform agenda Commissioners Commissioners have professional expertise in areas such as: Water resource management Freshwater ecology or hydrology Resource economics Public sector governance Programmes relating to natural resource management The Australian National Water Initiative (NWI) – an inter-governmental agreement “A nationally- Water Planning compatible market, regulatory and planning based system of managing surface and groundwater resources for rural and urban use that optimises economic, social and Water scarcity environmental outcomes” Water Markets Water Regulation The Central Issue in Water Management How much water is available? How much How much for for the consumptive environment? use? How much for each How much for each alternative consumptive How much for each Environmental asset? How much for each use? alternative consumptive How much for each Environmental asset? use? alternative consumptive How much for each Environmental asset? use? Australia’s Agreed Water Policy Objectives Water Security Water use efficiency Water for the environment Sustainable Supply Tradability of Water Better metering and accounting Improved scientific and socio-economic input Better, more participatory, water decision making Water trading From this .... To this …. Science Data Evidence Irrigators Monitoring & Environmental Reps adaptive Scientists management Statutory Indigenous Reps Community Groups Water Planning Plan given Draft water statutory plan to (legal) force Government What does the inter-governmental reform agreement say? Return all water systems to sustainable levels of extraction Provide secure water entitlements for irrigators Provide secure water entitlements for the environment Introduce statutory-based water planning processes Provide access for indigenous interests Legislate for clear risk sharing provisions What does the inter-governmental reform agreement say? Ensure open water trading Improve water pricing Improve management of groundwater Improve management of environmental water Take action to deal with water interception Seek smooth adjustment where water supplies vary What does the inter-governmental reform agreement say? Introduce better water metering Improve water data collection and accounting Invest in knowledge about water, and build capacity Improve security & management of urban water supplies Improve the effectiveness of water demand management Encourage water sensitive urban design Water for the Future $12.9 billion MDBA Basin Plan – new Sustainable Diversion Limits for MDB Improved, accurate, accessible water data and information - Bureau of Meteorology $480 million Investigate development of northern Australia water resources Irrigation efficiency and infrastructure upgrades $5.8 billion National Rainwater tank and Greywater Initiative Strengthening Basin Communities Program National Urban Water and Desalination Plan $1 billion Buying back water entitlements $3.1 billion Establish Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder Conclusions • Drought has always been and continues to be a feature of the Australian landscape and way of life • Due to their severity and the combination of climatic, hydrologic and political events the 1895-1902 Federation and 1997-2009 Millennium droughts have been the most influential on Australian Water Policy • Effects of the current drought is compounded by the growth in development, over-allocation and climate change including higher temperatures • Drought has tragic consequences for farmers, businesses, communities and the environment • Drought shifts the authorising environment and creates an opportunity for water reform and step changes in water policy and management More information? www.nwc.gov.au Cartoons by Nicholson from "The Australian" newspaper: www.nicholsoncartoons.com.au Drought, Climate Change & Water: What’s going on in Australia? • Reduced rainfall; much reduced runoff • (Even greater) seasonal variability • Pre-existing problem of overallocation • Rising demands for environmental water • Interstate disputes over water • Upstream – downstream disputes • Rural-urban disputes • Continuing rural adjustment pressures This causes some challenges, e.g.,... • Adjusting back to sustainable levels of water extraction (while the climate change bar keeps rising) • Water-induced rural adjustment (compounding existing adjustment pressures) • Achieving cooperation among different States • Displacement stress on connected water systems e.g., groundwater • Hard choices among environmental assets • Need a sustainable water system with flexibility for a climate changing the future ... So what are we doing about it? 1. Building an agreed national water reform agenda • Council of Australian Governments • The National Water Initiative • The Federal Water Act • New Murray Darling Basin Authority and Plan ... So what are we doing about it? 2. Building a more flexible water system • Making irrigation and environmental water tradable • Removing impediments to water trade (e.g., bans on rural- urban trading; trading out of districts) • Engineering flexibility e.g., water grids • Actively promoting adaptive environmental water management (“learning from experience”) • Investigating the water potential of Northern Australia ... So what are we doing about it? 3. Building a more efficient water system • Full cost pricing for water services; market pricing for water supplies (encourages efficient use & discourages waste) • Major investments in modernising irrigation infrastructure (delivering some big water savings) A$5.9BN • Major investments in improved water metering • Improved compliance and enforcement ... So what are we doing about it? 4. Building water management capacity & improving information • Major investments in improved water data and water accounting – one national go-to place for data A$480 m • National investments in improved climate, seasonal, weather and hydrological forecasting • Program of credible studies of likely future sustainable yields • Water management agencies & institutions with independence & authority • Reform undertakings by State Governments ... So what are we doing about it? 5.... And some policy innovations • Issuing shares, not volumes, of available water – in perpetuity • Offering different levels of water security – at different prices • Unbundling water entitlements from land title • Statutory water planning processes for each water system • A major voluntary buy-back program for the environment $3.1BN • Independent public assessment of States’ reform achievements • Providing Federal fiscal incentives for reform by the States
"Drought and its role in shaping Water Policy in Australia"