Growth 52: Water and the Australian economy

Australia needs to make tough policy choices if we are to balance economic, environmental and social needs. [Research and Policy article - Full content is only available to CEDA members]


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Report highlights

Australia's existing water management strategies are not sustainable. Businesses, farms and households in every Australian city are paying too little for water.

CEDA's report concludes that user-pays pricing should progressively be extended to all sectors of the economy, including users in major cities, as the best way to promote water conservation and ensure that the price of water reflects its scarcity. This may require other measures by governments to address the socio-economic hardships this may cause.

Urban water sustainability strategies should also include other demand management strategies to use water more efficiently, and the consideration of incentives and regulation to progressively improve storm water management and water reuse systems.

The report also shows just how a multi-pronged strategy can reverse the problems now growing in many Australian cities. In a detailed case study included in the report, Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis describes how water efficient practices introduced in Melbourne have reduced average household consumption by one third over the last 20 years.

Managing Australia's water resources needs a new approach.