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Type: Journal article
Title: A systems thinking approach to water trade: finding leverage for sustainable development
Author: Mai, T.
Mushtaq, S.
Loch, A.
Reardon-Smith, K.
An-vo, D.
Citation: Land Use Policy: the international journal covering all aspects of land use, 2019; 82:595-608
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 0264-8377
Statement of
Thanh Mai, Shahbaz Mushtaq, Adam Loch, K.Reardon-Smith, Duc-AnhAn-Vo
Abstract: Water trading has become a key water scarcity risk-management tool for irrigators. Effective and enduring water trade systems require approaches that can cope with dynamic complexity and enable the inclusion of multiple stakeholders. Previous efforts to improve water trade systems have largely focused on reductionist approaches, which examine system components in isolation neglecting their interconnected nature. Such approaches to water trade system assessment are at risk of maladaptation resulting in increased market inefficiencies, transaction costs and market failure through barriers to participation. Using a systems thinking approach, we develop a conceptual model of a generalised water trade system in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin (MDB or the Basin). The model visualises the Basin's water trade systems as a whole and identifies feedback mechanisms likely to influence trade development and endurance. We argue that such a conceptual model provides an effective communication tool for achieving a better understanding of market dynamics and alignment of stakeholder priorities to improve enduring market use. It can also serve as an assessment/evaluation tool for water trade policy and identify key leverage points for systemic interventions.
Keywords: Dynamic complexity; feedback loops; Murray-Darling Basin; water markets
Rights: Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.01.004
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