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The technical and environmental efficiency of the Australian irrigation schemes

Liu, Gang 2004 , 'The technical and environmental efficiency of the Australian irrigation schemes', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Water resource management reform occupies a prominent place in Australia because
deficiencies in the management of water and salinity are rapidly moving Australia
towards a serious shortage of quality water. The objective of this study is to develop a
comprehensive index to identify a best practice as benchmark for the Australian
irrigation industry in relation to irrigation water delivery and the treatment of salinity.
The efficiency performance of the sampled irrigation schemes is measured against the
benchmark which will also provide information on an scheme's managerial capacity
and operating environment. This information can help scheme managers and
government agencies and policy makers to identify clear targets management
improvements and effective policy. The sampled schemes involved in this study are mainly drawn from the Murray
Darling Basin (MDB) which constitutes seventy five percent of Australia's irrigated
area. Over ninety five percent water resources in the basin are used for irrigation
activities. More than twenty five percent of irrigation water is lost in the conveyance
system through seepage, leakage and evaporation. The MDB has also long been
recognised as one of Australia's most important environmental concerns. The
improvement of the productive efficiency of water delivery off-farm and the
efficiency in treating salt emissions in the MDB is important to Australia.
This study develops a panel data modelling framework using stochastic frontier
analysis and data envelopment analysis techniques, which are used to assess the
efficiency of the major Australian irrigation schemes. Although the efficiency measures obtained from the stochastic frontier analysis and the data envelopment
analysis are correlated with respect to efficiency scores ranking, there is strong
evidence of the presence of random noise in data set applied to the study. Thus, the
conclusions in relation to policy implication are drawn from the stochastic frontier
analysis which does accommodate random noise. The results reveal the following: (1)
there is evidence of some technical and environmental inefficiency in the operation of
Australia's irrigation system in each of the years 98/99, 99/00 and 00/01; (2) both
technical and environmental efficiency appear to be improving over time; (3) the
potential savings of the water resource and potential reductions in salt emissions are
substantial if the industry can achieve full technical and environmental efficiency; (4)
NSW and Victorian schemes outperform Queensland schemes with respect to
technical efficiency but there is no evidence that privately run schemes operate
significantly more efficiently than publicly run schemes; (5) the operating
environment is not conductive to the achievement of efficiency improvements.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Liu, Gang
Keywords: Irrigation, Irrigation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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