Corporate Strategy and Policy, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia GPO Box 1671, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia Phone: 61 8 8226 0561, email: [email protected]

It is increasingly realized that water resource management has played a vital role in Australia's economic, environmental and social sustainable development. However, many water-related issues face growing scrutiny and policy debate. A major part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) water reforms was the development and implementation of consistent and tradable water entitlements, which represent key attempts to standardize approaches to water resource management at a national scale. As part of this process, the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) has faced a number of challenges in designing a robust system of water entitlements that jointly meet the needs of entitlement-holders, community and the environment. This chapter aims to identify the features of different water entitlements arrangements and develop a classification system. First, the chapter outlines an overview of water management in the MDB. Next, it provides a property rights analysis of existing water entitlements arrangements and the broad directions that governments may take in the light of water entitlements system reforms. Then, a water entitlements classification system is proposed and its policy implications are discussed. The chapter concludes that significant challenges remain to be overcome before implementing a consistent and tradable water entitlements system in the MDB.

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