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Type: Conference paper
Title: Triple Bottom Line reporting to promote sustainability of irrigation in Australia
Author: Christen, E.
Meyer, W.
Jayawardane, N.
Shepheard, M.
Robinson, D.
Marshall, A.
Fairweather, H.
Citation: OECD workshop on Agriculture and water: sustainability, markets and policies. pp.1-15
Publisher: OECD Publishing
Issue Date: 2005
Conference Name: OECD Workshop on Agriculture and Water: sustainability, markets and policies (14 Nov 2005 : Adelaide & Barmera)
Statement of
Evan W. Christen, Wayne S. Meyer, Nihal S. Jayawardane, Mark Shepheard, David Robinson, Alex Marshall and Helen Fairweather
Abstract: Most irrigation in Australia was instigated with regional socio-economic development as a primary goal. The irrigation schemes were developed with grand visions of settling the interior and providing farming opportunity to soldiers returning from world wars. These visions have largely been realised with evidence from the Murrumbidgee and Murray basins of significant inland populations associated with the irrigated districts and an annual revenue of $3.1 billion associated with an investment into irrigation infrastructure valued at about $10 billion. This economic development in the Murrumbidgee and Murray basins brought about by this irrigation uses about 8600 Giga-litres of water (2000/01 season), which is about 52% of the total annual runoff into the system. This level of water extraction has led to ecosystem problems associated with highly controlled river flows and a disconnection of the river from the floodplain ecosystems. Public and Government concern has resulted in actions to recover and return water for targeted environmental flows. Irrigation development induces considerable environmental change, but the expectation has been in the past that the economic and social benefits would be greater than the environmental costs. However, public attitudes change over time from acceptance of development and exploitation to greater concern regarding environmental issues and sustainability. Recently, the irrigation industry has found it difficult to communicate to the wider populace the benefits of irrigation to their regions and the current activities and investment undertaken to address the environmental sustainability concerns. To address this irrigation water supply businesses are investigating using a broader reporting structure that includes financial, environmental, and social and cultural elements. This triple bottom line, holistic approach should provide a more balanced view of water use with socio-economic benefits and environmental consequences demonstrated. It is anticipated that this approach embedded in the newly developed Irrigation Sustainability Assessment Framework will lead to a more transparent and informed debate on the sustainable use of resources between all parties.
Keywords: Reporting; Murrumbidgee; Murray; framework; assessment; river health
RMID: 0020071798
DOI: 10.1007/s10795-006-9011-1
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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