Environmental water allocations in Australia

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Abstract

Australian policy and law on environmental water allocation have come a long way since the Council of Australian Governments agreed on a framework for water reform in 1994. The 2004 Council of Australian Governments' Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative (NWI) has given significant impetus for further development across the coming decade, defining principles that are being addressed in legislative reforms to varying extents in different States. This article distils the national policy principles on environmental water allocation and reviews the law of three States, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, to ascertain the legal enforceability of environmental water allocations. It argues, in particular, that their enforceability is dependent on the key NWI proposition that a water access entitlement for consumptive use is only a right to a share of the consumptive pool of water available in a resource from year to year and not a right to take a fixed maximum volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-235
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Volume23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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