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Water banking in aquifers as a tool for drought resilience in the Murray Darling Basin

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posted on 2023-12-14, 05:37 authored by DW Page, D Gonzalez, Timothy CluneTimothy Clune, Y Colton, GD Bonnett
Water banking in aquifers is an internationally proven, low-cost solution that could improve drought resilience across the Murray Darling Basin. While significant potential for water banking through managed aquifer recharge (MAR) or conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources has been identified in the Murray Darling Basin Plan, there is a need to establish clear policy and institutional foundations to incentivise adoption. To provide appropriate incentives for schemes, the legal status of rights to recharge, store and recover water, and the rules and costs which apply to groundwater extraction need to be clear and transparent. This paper aims to clarify principles and frameworks to secure water rights for recharge, storage, and recovery within the sustainable limits of water resources currently set under law. The current Basin Plan supports water banking, and banking would be complementary with objective and outcomes sought by future Basin Plans. Existing water accounting systems would need to accommodate this new capacity. Institutional arrangements and financial structures of water banking in the USA provide guidance for Australia. Demonstration sites would enable concurrent policy development and institutional set-up and provide critical experience to serve as models for wider adoption as part of future Murray Darling Basin plans.

History

Publication Date

2023-07-01

Journal

Australian Journal of Water Resources

Volume

27

Issue

2

Pagination

15p. (p. 331-345)

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

ISSN

1324-1583

Rights Statement

© 2022 Crown Copyright in the Commonwealth of Australia. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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