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Watering down property rights for the sake of the environment: A consideration of the environmental benefits of attenuated water rights in NSW

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Crase, L and Dollery, B and Lockwood, M (2003) Watering down property rights for the sake of the environment: A consideration of the environmental benefits of attenuated water rights in NSW. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 10 (1). pp. 25-34. ISSN 1448-6563

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Abstract

Many policy makers have begun to question the
efficacy of water reforms that rely on markets
as the principal mechanism for allocating the
resource to its highest-value use. One of the concerns in
this regard has been the relative paucity of permanent
trades despite earlier analyses that have identified
substantial potential gains from trade. This phenomenon
has bften been attributed to the difficulties of completing
deals in the permanent water market when rights are
substantially attenuated. Whilst some empirical evidence
is now emerging on the size of these impediments, only
limited attention has been given to the broader welfareimplications
of policies aimed at enhancing the efficiency
of the water market by strengthening rights. This article
examines the welfare implications of attenuated water
rights in the market for permanent water entitlements in
NSW Estimates of foregone market surplus are used as
the foundation for establishing threshold environmental
values arising from the present attenuation. Results
reveal a relatively modest foregone surplus suggesting
that further strengthening of the water rights ofirrigators
should be considered with caution.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Australasian Journal of Environmental Management
Page Range: pp. 25-34
ISSN: 1448-6563
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2009 00:38
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:56
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