An Analysis of Existing Water Entitlemnets Arrangements

In the past 50 years, the number and type of water access entitlements has grown dramatically in the MDB. Shi (2005, 2006) has identified 22 categories of surface water entitlements currently in existence throughout three jurisdictions in Southern MDB (see Table 2). Among them nine entitlement categories are for irrigation purposes and their allocation policies are summarised in Table 3. Typically, an irrigation license holder has a specific type of entitlement for nominal volume of water. The actual volume that can be ordered is governed by an allocation, announced by the local managing authority at the beginning of a season and revised throughout the season, based on available supplies. Given the frequency of changes in seasonal rainfall and other conditions, it needs to be flexible in the allocation of existing water supplies.

In this study, four attributes are considered as important in specifying a water entitlement:

• Supply reliability is defined in terms of the number of years in 100 when entitlement holders can expect to receive their maximum entitlement volume;

• Entitlement and allocation tradability refer to the ability to trade among states (***), within the state (**), only within the region (*) or un-tradable (0);

• Tenure describes whether the licence is issued for a number of years or perpetual (<»); and

• Access priority describes the order in which water is taken from pools of the system (In general, there is a close correlation between access priority and supply reliability).

Table 4 summarises the characteristics of 22 surface water entitlement categories in terms of supply reliability, tradability, tenure and access priority arrangements.

Table 4: Existing 22 entitlement categories and the feature of their attributes
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