We examine water governance in the Murray-Darling Basin using the frameworks of rent-seeking and regulatory capture. These frameworks are used to evaluate two government programmes intended to ensure an environmentally sustainable level of water diversions in the basin: targeted one-on-one purchases of water entitlements from designated sellers; and subsidies for irrigation infrastructure to increase irrigation efficiency. Deficiencies in delivering the stated environmental goals of both programmes, and questions about their 'value for money', are highlighted. Specific recommendations are provided about how to mitigate both rent-seeking and regulatory capture of water reform initiatives in large river basins.
|International Journal of Water Resources Development
|Published - 2020